Center Police Department Participates in Third Annual “Santa no Summonses” Program

by Abbey Gerveler

Center, Missouri’s Police Chief drummed up local support once again for the Center Police Department’s third annual “Santa No Summonses” program. On chosen days in December, the program issues gift cards, traffic safety literature, and a warning in place of a summons to traffic violators traveling through the City of Center.

“I was very surprised, I was just passing through, and I wasn’t thinking,” said one regular MO-19 traveler. “I’m happy to have gotten the gift card and just a warning.”

Center Police Chief David Ray started the program in December 2016 as an attempt to boost police-public relations and spread holiday cheer. “It’s my favorite time of the year to do this. I look forward to this every year, and the people that donate are excited too,” said Chief Ray. “No matter how people receive it, I just enjoy trying to do something to promote a positive community.”

This year, local individuals donated money in support of the program as well as several local businesses. The money was put towards purchasing over twenty $50 Shell Station gift cards, helping to assist with recipients’ holiday travel expenses. Chief Ray estimates this year’s total monetary donations have tripled since the first year of “Santa no Summonses.” “We really appreciate the support from the community,” said Ray.

Center Police also partnered this year with Missouri’s Northeast Coalition for Roadway Safety. The Coalition supplied gift card recipients with traffic safety literature, covering topics of distracted driving, impaired driving, and youth alcohol use and driving. Chief Ray and the Center Police force distributed gift cards and traffic safety information to individuals on Friday, December 21, and Saturday, December 22, wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.