MILWAUKEE — While Santa and his elves are swamped a week before Christmas, Milwaukee Police stepped in to help.
District 3 officers hit 35th Street on Tuesday ready to deliver some holiday cheer to about 30 students at Bethune Academy.
"There's a lot of kids out here that don't have it, and for us to put on something like this to make them happy is a great, great feeling," Officer Melvin Finkley said.
Officers moonlighted as Secret Santa for the students and paid for the presents.
"It's important that these kids see that we do care. That we're human beings. That we're fathers. We're mothers," Capt. Jeffrey Norman said.
Norman said they received a "robust response" from officers wanting to participate. Some sponsored more than one student.
When students at Bethune walked into their library Tuesday afternoon, the tables were decorated with red, green and white covers. There were desserts and a digital fireplace waiting for them.
Students were happily surprised to find out why they were there. Once they opened their unexpected gifts, they were visibly and audibly ecstatic.
"For some of our students, this is in addition to what they’ll get at home. For others, this may take the place of what they don’t always receive at home. So we’re very excited to have this opportunity, and the students that you see here today are students who love school. ... We just wanted to give them an opportunity to experience this," said Paulette Chambers Lewis, principal at Bethune Academy.
Officers in District 3 said they hoped this is the start of a tradition.