Officers with the Fremont Police Department in Nebraska handed out $100 bills to drivers during routine traffic stops Tuesday on behalf of an anonymous donor.
Lt. Kurt Bottorff says the event has become a tradition as the donor has provided the department with “a substantial amount of money” to give away randomly to Fremont residents over the past seven or eight years, according to KFMT.
This year, the Secret Santa gave the department $5,000 to distribute to 50 drivers, according to Nebraska Public Media.
“They put money into a card – $100 bills – and give them to police officers,” Bottorff told KFMT. “We go out and they are called cash stops. Basically, we have positive contacts with motorists out and about. We stop them for basic things … and then we give them the card with a $100 bill inside.”
“This (donation) is from someone that doesn’t even want to be known for doing it,” Bottorff added. “That is so cool and that is really what the holidays are all about.”
Bottorff was spreading the Christmas cheer with Officer Jim Butts this year.
“I don’t know what I did wrong!” said a smiling driver named Zach after being pulled over by the officers and receiving his card, according to KETK.
Lt Shane Wilmer says some motorists are visibly moved when they receive the cash.
“We’ve had several people cry once they open up the cards,” Wimer told Nebraska Public Media. “They just needed that at the time, they’re just struggling with getting Christmas gifts or getting their car fixed or buying coats. Several times, officers have been met with handshakes, hugs or tears.”
The yearly operation brings officers just as much joy as it does the unsuspecting drivers, especially during the pandemic and the hardships that have come with it. Wilmer told Nebraska State Media that one of the officers thanked him for allowing them to participate.
“I’ve been in policing for 37 years,” Bottorff told KETV. “Community policing is a huge thing right now because we provide a community service to the public. The expectations are there, and they should be there.”