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Police play Santa for a day

By: Eric Laughlin The Press Tribune
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The joy of giving to those in need was felt by several police officials Tuesday, as they participated in their annual holiday toy hand-out that never fails to produce hundreds of smiles. Throughout the day, a group that included traffic officers to high-ranking officials in the Roseville Police Department handed out some 400 toys to children from area low income families. The kids and their parents lined up at five different apartment complexes to receive the donated gifts. Police Capt. Stan Lumsden said the event is always a huge highlight of the holiday season. “The biggest benefit to me personally is the interaction with the kids,” he said. “A lot of times when kids see the cops there’s trauma involved like someone screaming or getting taken to jail. But when we do this it’s all positive and everybody has a smile on their face.” Beverly Gable, who works in the department’s Youth and Family Services division, organized the event and said it wouldn’t have happened without the enormous efforts by Diamond Creek Elementary School students, who were in charge of gathering the toys. Gable also said she was pleased by the amount of toys taken in during troubled economic times. “It’s just wonderful how area families still manage to donate despite having been hit by layoffs and foreclosures themselves,” she said. “It really says a lot about our community.” Dorrae Bozarth of Roseville said the toy giveaway made the holidays a lot brighter for her grandchildren this year. “It was really nice for them to do that,” she said. “And I can’t believe how fast it went for how many people were in line.” She then whispered, “And it really did make a big difference, because they only have a couple presents under the tree.” Grandfather Frank Marker said he was also pleased in the efforts to add joy to his household. “It really is a godsend,” he said, “especially in this economy when a lot of people don’t have a lot going on. We’re glad to have the support of the police department.” Bozarth’s grandson Tristin Kampa was overjoyed by receiving gifts aligned with his tastes. “It was so exciting,” he said. “All the kids there were running into each other they were so excited.” It was the seventh toy drive and giveaway organized by the Roseville Police Department and Diamond Creek School. Gable and Lumsden said they will carry out the tradition again. “I try to do it every year,” Lumsden said, “because it’s incredibly rewarding.”