KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
December 12, 2023
By Natalie Cook Clark
The Katy ISD Police Department’s Santa Cops program continues to share the holiday spirit going 21 years strong. This year the program will provide Christmas gifts to over 1,100 Katy students, 603 families.
Photo credit: Katy ISD Police Department
Santa Cops Program Continues to Grow
For 21 years, Katy ISD police officers have delivered holiday cheer to many children in the community. The Santa Cops program has grown from bringing gifts and cheer to 30 students in 2002 to over 1,100 students this year and 603 families. Last year they brought Christmas to 654 Katy families.
Katy ISD Police Chief Henry Gaw continues be wowed by this program in his fourth year overseeing the department. He came from Houston Police Department, that also had a way to give back to students.
"I am grateful to witness the incredible outpouring of support from our Katy community, school groups, and local businesses that have made the 21st annual Santa Cops program a resounding success. Together, we've been able to bring joy to over 1,100 students from 603 Katy ISD families, ensuring a brighter holiday season for all, “ says Henry Gaw, Chief of Police at Katy ISD.
Selected families will start picking up the gifts this week. Some families don’t have a means to pick up gifts. Those gifts will be delivered to the school counselors who will ensure their delivery.
Toys fill the Katy ISD Police Station.
Each Child Receives $100 Worth of Toys
School counselors submitted students' names to receive the donations. Families were assigned a number for picking up the wrapped toys, valued at $100 per child. They get a sense for numbers based on the free and reduced lunch program.
The Department reaches out to Katy ISD counselors each October to start finalizing numbers and assessing the need.
“We can’t do this without the counselors,” says Liz Loocke, police services specialist. “This is to help the parents, so we aren’t there to see them unwrap the presents.”
As the gifts are bagged prior to dropping off, they don’t always know the gifts but . This year's donations filled the entire station. Chief Gaw joked that they needed a new station just to handle Santa Cops.
“A heartfelt thank you to Liz Loocke for her unwavering dedication, the Katy ISD Police Department, and all the volunteers who have made this wonderful event possible year after year. Your generosity has created a ripple of love and cheer that will resonate throughout our community all season long,” says Chief Gaw.
This is a program that often doesn’t receive any thanks for their efforts, yet some families do come up and deliver baked goods and treats to give thanks.
“in the past a lot of schools south of the freeway didn’t have a need, but that has changed,” says Liz Loocke. “We’ve had more in that area then ever before. Many Katy families are struggling.”
As Katy ISD continues to grow, the Katy ISD Police Department continues to foresee the continued need and growth of Santa Cops.