BY HAILEY MINTON
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY NORTH OGDEN POLICE DEPARTMENT
SUB FOR SANTA TRADITION: A FAVORITE FOR POLICE OFFICERS
Officer Jason Child at the North Ogden Police Department explained their Sub for Santa tradition is always such a positive experience. It balances out the tougher parts of the job description. There is nothing quite like seeing the joy on a child’s face during the moments where they shop with families or deliver gifts to their homes. The police department raises money among themselves and takes donations from the public, but they get to be involved in the best part: delivering the magic of Christmas.
Lori Fraizer is a part of the office staff at the NOPD, and she explained that they work closely with the schools to identify potential families they can help. They get gift ideas for the members of the families, and then a few people from the police department will go out to shop for them. On delivery day, police officers and North Ogden City staff will show up to their homes with Santa to deliver the presents.
Officer Child and the other officers and staff at the police department have been amazed at the generosity they have seen from the community as they accept donations. Some people will write an additional check as they come to license their dog; others donate gifts and money for their annual golf fundraiser. Officer Child said, one time, they were out shopping with a family, and a person approached him asking what they were doing. This person had come to the store with some money, hoping to find someone to help. Officer Child was expecting a $20 – $40 donation, but instead, the person handed him $800 and refused to give him a name to associate with the donation. They turned in more money to the donation pool than they ended up spending for that family with whom they were out shopping.
Another time, a boy had his bike stolen in the summer, and the family filed a report at the station. They didn’t find the stolen bike, so an officer decided to buy a new one for the boy. That next Christmas, the father of the boy decided to pay it forward by purchasing a bike and a Christmas tree to donate to someone in need. They ended up giving the items to a single mom who had just moved into an apartment with her two young boys. One of the boys was really hoping for a bike. That is just one of the many special moments they have around this time of year.
A piece of magic that exists year-round is the family-like atmosphere that exists at the police station. While I was there, they laughed and joked among themselves. There was an underlying feeling that they genuinely care about each other. Lori explained how they have to read through the officer’s reports. They understand what the officers experience, and they are there to talk if any of the officers need it.
Police work doesn’t end at 5 p.m. or the weekends, let alone the holidays. Even though they are out working on days where most of us are with family or friends, they try to gather with each other for lunch, calls permitting.
As social upheaval in 2020 rocked some police stations, Officer Child explained there was very little, if any, negativity directed at them in North Ogden. There were a few months where it seemed they had a constant supply of doughnuts given to them by supportive residents of North Ogden. At the rate it was going there for a while, Officer Child said it seemed as if they were going to have to start rolling themselves to calls!
As I interviewed some firefighters for our latest September Issue, one firefighter said something I will never forget. He explained that people’s attitudes towards firefighters are usually positive. They are the last hope in many emergencies, as with police officers, but they don’t carry handcuffs. He explained that when a police officer shows up, it is to enforce the law, and officers usually aren’t as warmly received. Since then, I’ve heard officers tell me they need to constantly watch their back. Police are the deliverers or the initiators for consequences that go along with lawlessness. That can be hard to take for anyone on the receiving end of correction.
We each have our world that we live in and our own unique circles of people we interact with. I’d say mine is fairly positive, since I get to choose who I interact with on a regular basis. I understand that a police officer’s world can be very different. I imagine the job demands some thick skin.
I’m sure you’ve seen the black and white flags with the blue stripe across the center. Before writing this, I understood it as a symbol of the police force, but I’ll share with you what I learned as I looked deeper. According to nationalpolice.org, it is not a flag of defiance or a battle cry by police officers of aggression toward the public. The thin blue line represents the men and women who stand in the gap between the lawless and the innocent. It represents the men and women who have died as they refuse to let that line be broken. For those who dedicate their lives to maintaining the peace, it means they are a part of something bigger than themselves. For the civilian, it says they are willing to join in everyone’s responsibility to maintain peace.
This time of year, we tend to focus on generosity, kindness, good will, and peace. I’m grateful for our North Ogden Police Officers who play an invaluable role in preserving the peace we enjoy here. I’m also grateful their job connects them with the people of this city, and they get to be involved in this positive tradition for those in need. I believe they deserve it.