SAPD spread holiday cheer with “Operation Blue Santa”

The San Angelo Police Department is making about 40 children and their families very happy today at Walmart.

For the last 10 years, with the help of the San Angelo Coalition of Police, Santa has been coming a little early for children in need. Operation Blue Santa is an initiativcoordinated by Officer Brian Bylsma with local school districts, and seeks to spread holiday cheer by giving children the chance to “shop with a cop.” Using funds donated by the community, children are paired up with an officer and let loose in Walmart, picking out gifts for their families and themselves.

At the event, which is going on today until 1:30 p.m. at the 29th Street Walmart, Officer Bylsma said the Christmas cheer works both ways. “The kids get joy out of this, but I think these officers get just as much if not more joy out of it.”

Though in full uniform, all of the officers at the event are volunteering their off-duty time.

“In our job, most of the time when we arrive at some place, things are in chaos, and we have to try and settle things down.” Officer Bylsma said. “A lot of the time these kids only see us when things are in the chaos mode, and this is a way for us to show them that we’re human, and that there’s another side to the police, and that we’re their friends and they can actually come to us.”

Those interested in donating to Operation Blue Santa can do so by sending a check or money order to:
S.A.C.O.P. “Operation Blue Santa”
P.O. Box 804
San Angelo, TX 76902