The gifts arrived on two buses and will be dispersed to needy children in the area. Bay District Schools gave the police department a list of students that need Christmas gifts this holiday season.
“This is the best part of our job,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said. “You know a lot of times when you call 911 it’s not under the best circumstances. So when you encounter a police officer, it’s typically not on your best day. This allows our police officer to interact with a community in a more positive circumstance.”
The toys will be given to more than 100 families. Besides toys, the department brought in $3,400 in donations that will be used to buy more toys.
“What’s awesome is that the police go down the list, they arrange all the toys for things that people have asked for,” John Starling, owner of Florida Water Sports said. “And then whatever gaps we have, that’s where the cash goes.”
The department will also give food baskets to the elderly.
“We have people that write in to us saying that there are certain families that need help. And these families that need help, these kids have things on their Christmas list,” Talamantez. “We go through the toys, so we can find those things, and package them up and get them ready for delivery.”
This is the eighth annual Cops ‘n Kids Toy Drive.