Davis police pass out bicycles to children in need, support families through Santa Cop program

Sierra Rains
The Davis Police Department passed out 38 bicycles, two scooters and one unicycle to children in need on Tuesday. The bikes were provided by an anonymous donor the department refers to as it's "special Santa elf."

The Davis Police Department passed out around 40 bicycles to children in need on Tuesday, courtesy of the department’s “special Santa elf”. 

Davis Chief of Police Danny Cooper said the anonymous donor has provided the department with bicycles as an addition to the police station’s annual Santa Cop program for at least the past 19 years. 

“We have an anonymous donor that takes in bicycles all year and then he refurbishes them, cleans them up, paints them and gives them to the police department to give to kids,” Cooper said. “He thinks every kid needs a bicycle that wants one, so this is what he does to help do that.”

The police station is hoping to carry on the tradition, but unfortunately, this year may be the last year they pass out bicycles. Cooper said their anonymous donor recently passed away with complications from COVID-19. 

“We’ve always called him our ‘special Santa elf’. He was an elderly man that was retired and it was just what he did to stay busy and still be part of the community,” Cooper said. “We hope somebody picks it up like that, but so far nobody’s come forward to.”

All of the bicycles he collected before his passing, including two scooters and one unicycle, were picked up by families on Tuesday — bringing some Christmas cheer to those struggling this holiday season. Each child was allowed to select one bike on a first come, first serve basis. 

“With everything going on, times are really tough,” Cooper said. “With COVID-19 and people getting quarantined at home, it’s not much, but we help the community as much as we can.”

In addition to the bicycles, the Davis Police Department has selected five families in need to help through its Santa Cop program. The program, which is a nearly 30-year-old tradition, allows the department to help provide assistance for families and distribute toys during the holidays. 

Cooper said Monday marked the final day the department would be collecting donations, and police are looking for safe ways to distribute the gifts before Christmas. 

“We’re just trying to figure out a safe way to get everything done this year, it’s a little bit different,” Cooper said. “We don’t know if we’re actually going to go out and buy the presents like we usually do, or maybe this year just giving gift cards so that when things calm down the people can go get it.”

Whatever decision they come to, Cooper said the police department is just glad to be able to help out families, especially during trying times. This year has been tough on many financially and Cooper said they appreciate all of the donations they have received for the program. 

“It’s a good program and we’re just glad that this year, especially with COVID-19, that we’re able to provide a little bit of happiness and Christmas cheer to families in need,” Cooper said. “We want everybody to have a very happy and safe merry Christmas.”