Community Relations Officer Greg Cates of the Pocatello Police Department says the new Santa Claus Express this year at the Pocatello Police Station was an enjoyable event that benefited from strong community and business support.
The recent event was a COVID-19-sensitive replacement for the yearly Shop with a Cop event, which in normal times has officers shopping in person with youths in need for holiday toys and other items.
Instead, the Santa Claus Express event had motorists pull into the drive-thru garage at the station and receive gifts through their vehicle windows. That helped avoid any virus exposure.
Then the motorists would slowly drive out of the garage.
Further, as an awareness raiser and celebration, a host of law enforcement vehicles were parked in the lot in front of the station at 911 N. Seventh Ave. with their signal lights flashing.
And after all was said and done the event provided about 100 gift bags to people who drove through the garage at the police station and received the bags through their windows, according to Cates.
He said any leftover gift bags went into law enforcement vehicles to be handed out around town.
Those gift bags were spread out among five different agencies, he said.
Cates said he was pleased at the support they received for the replacement event.
A lot of businesses and police personnel helped provide funds for Santa Claus Express.
Walmart gave $3,000, Idaho Central Credit Union gave $1,000, Salmon River Stages gave $500, Mary’s Place Campground gave $500, the sheriff’s deputies gave $500, the Pocatello Police Department union gave $250, and other citizens gave a collective total of about $500 to fund the effort.
Further, McDonald’s donated 200 breakfast sandwiches for Santa Claus Express.