BPD completes its annual Santa in Blue rounds

The Beaumont Police Department completed its annual Santa in Blue rounds Dec. 12

The Beaumont Police Department completed its annual Santa in Blue rounds on Dec. 12. This year, the drive delivered presents to about 300 children, according to Officer Justin Proenza.

Proenza and his partner, Officer Tom Swole, have overseen the Santa in Blue drive for the past 14 years.

“Our officers do the selection process; whether it’s on a call or just somebody they run into while they’re doing their routine patrols, they recommend a family to us,” Proenza explained. “They may run into them on a call, and they can see that they need some help. Sometimes we’ll have burglaries where people’s houses will get broken into and a lot of their belongings are stolen. They’re stuck, they’re in a bad spot, and we’ll help them out.”

Proenza estimated that Santa in Blue has been one of the police department’s programs for the last 15 or 20 years.

“We visit with each family beforehand, Officer Swope and I,” he said. “We find out their ages and if they’re a boy or a girl, and we go from there.”

Currently, the Monsignor Kelly High School art club goes on a shopping day at Walmart to buy for all the families, using the funds raised for the drive. “They just buy whatever they think is in style,” Proenza said.

Then the Groves Middle School Student Council, Honor Society and Brave Believer club partner together to wrap the purchase and prepare items for delivery.

On the day of the drive, the trailer was “stacked to the top,” Proenza said, so full that he could not open it for photographs.

The gifts distributed vary widely from bicycles to the latest technology.

“Some of them get Xbox games, some of them get Barbie dolls — it just depends on their age,” he said. “Our cutoff is 16 years old, so for a 15 and 16 year old, it’s kind of hard to shop for, so we usually get electronics, some of them get Netbooks, iPods.”

The Blue Irons motorcycle group presented a $18,914.06 check to the Blue Santa Program in the lobby of the Beaumont Police Department to kick off this year’s run.

Officer Tom Swope, dressed as Santa in Blue, headed off to make his deliveries around 4:45 p.m. with his elf, while the Blue Irons stood on the sidelines cheering him on.