Santa Claus is scheduled to make an arrival. But this Santa isn't riding on a sleigh pulled by nine reindeer. Instead he's making his way through town with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Santa on Patrol, AKA Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk, will be patrolling Monument neighborhoods to deliver toys to children that might not get a Christmas.
Shirk, along with Santa's helpers who by the way include the Monument Police Department, Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, Palmer Lake Police Department and Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department, will load up police cars and fire engines with gifts for children and teens and will deliver them between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 15.
The tradition of donning the Santa Claus outfit and giving back to the community started nearly 20 years ago when he worked for the Aurora Police Department. Death threats were made against the Santa Clauses in malls and shopping centers. Because of the threats shopping establishments made the decision to cancel Santa Claus.
“That made me so mad that I put on a Santa suit. I was known as the pistol packing Santa,” Shirk said. “That was not acceptable. How dare they do that to the kids.”
When Shirk came to Monument seven years ago he carried on the tradition because he knew there were families in need here.
The gift give-a-way would not be possible without donations from the community. Every year the police and fire departments collect items to be able to pass out. Last year more than 1,000 gifts were delivered to children in need.
“The citizens here are outstanding,” Shirk said. “If they have any desire to help the need is right here in our community.”
Shirk said they are accepting new and unwrapped gifts for any age. Gifts can be dropped off at the Monument Police Department, Palmer Lake Police Department and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Stations 1, 2 and 3 and the Palmer Lake Volunteer Fire Department. Gifts can also be dropped off at the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Administration building on Second Street and any Lewis-Palmer District 38 school. They are also collecting gift cards to grocery stores and Wal-Mart.
“We have families that need Christmas dinner,” Shirk said.
Items need to be dropped off by Dec. 14.