Law enforcement prepared for arrival of Santa Claus

Published 12:16 pm Saturday, December 22, 2018

Bainbridge Public Safety and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office have come together for a joint operation that is of grave importance to the residents of Bainbridge and Decatur County. The two agencies will be cooperating with each other on a project that is too big for one law enforcement entity to handle.

They will be dealing with a man of many aliases. Some call him St. Nicholas; some prefer Chris Cringle, or Father Christmas. The man in question however is commonly referred to as Santa Claus.

The officers and deputies are tasked with facilitating a smooth trip through Bainbridge for Claus. Bainbridge is a very important stop on Santa’s world tour. The Flint River provides his reindeer with a well-timed water break, and a snack for them is annually provided by Flint River Mills. Without this vital stop, the reindeer would run out of energy and thousands of kids west of Bainbridge would wake up without presents.

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“We know how important of a stop Bainbridge is for Santa Claus,” said BPS Director Jerry Carter. “Christmas Eve is one of our biggest nights of the year.”

The light display along the river serves an additional purpose as a runway for Santa’s sleigh. BPS and the DCSO keep an eye to the sky the entire night and dispatchers stand at the ready, listening for Claus to announce his arrival into Decatur County.

Once the call comes in, it’s all hands on deck. The DCSO sends deputies to all corners of the county to track the progress of Claus and help him with anything he needs.

“It’s unbelievably important to us,” said Sheriff Wiley Griffin. “We have extra deputies on duty (on Christmas Eve) to handle anything that may come up with Santa.”

Sheriff Griffin said that a big responsibility his deputies have is when the sleigh hits turbulence while in flight.

“It can shake some presents loose, and they fall right out of the sack.” said Griffin. “If that happens, Santa will radio in to our dispatch team with the location the gifts fell, and then we go retrieve them.”

BPS officers and DCSO deputies work in tandem on gift recovery. Once Santa touches down along the Flint River for the reindeer’s water and feed, officers and deputies return the gifts.

“No child should ever have to wake up on Christmas to find no presents because they fell out of the sleigh,” said Griffin. “Making sure that doesn’t happen is something I take pride in.”

Some officers and deputies are tasked with following right behind the sleigh, picking up reindeer droppings in order to cover any trace Santa may leave behind. It’s not glamourous work, but someone has to do it, is the mentality the law enforcement entities have.

“The most important part of the whole procedure is that Santa remains unseen, that’s where the real issues start to happen,” said Carter. “We all have to keep residents in their homes and away from Santa’s rest stop by the river. If he sees anyone, especially a kid, he’ll fly off immediately. The whole operation will be compromised.”

BPS and the DCSO hope that their diligent efforts will help ensure that children throughout the county have a very merry Christmas morning.