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CCSO catches holiday fever

Claiborne County residents were on the lookout much of this month for flashing blue lights and uniformed officers, but not for the normal reasons. Handing out citations was the last thing on the minds of law enforcement as they went about creating a bit of excitement as they rid the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office of hams and toys.

Law-abiding citizens have had their daily dose of adrenaline rush as they are pulled over by a CCSO officer with ham in hand.

“Most of the reactions were shock. Several cried,” said CCSO Sgt. Chris Cardwell, who headed up the effort.

He estimates over 30 hams have been hand-delivered via an officer to residents as they travel along the county highways and byways.

“Every year, we’ve done the ham handout, to a small degree. This year, we were very fortunate to have over $250 donated to our cause. Reserve Officer Mike Orr, who had a recent death in the family, decided to take money donated to his family and do something positive for the community,” said Cardwell.

Not to be outdone by a slew of hams, the seventh annual ‘Operation Christmas Patrol’ has managed to make the holidays a little brighter for county children via the distribution of over 1,000 toys.

“The kids are so excited to see us pull up with a selection of toys they can choose from. The kids get their hands on the toys and tear into them immediately,” said CCSO Capt. Larry Martin.

Operation Christmas Patrol spent the day during the Clairfield Christmas Parade distributing toys to every child with whom they came into contact. The operation has continued throughout the weeks in nearly every nook and cranny within the county.

The neat thing about this program, Martin said, is the fact that the participating officers have donated volunteer time to it. Participation does not cut into their regular working hours, he said.

“We love doing it. And, it keeps growing every year to the point, where businesses have donated this year,” said Martin.

Another CCSO holiday program, ‘Shop with a Cop,’ seems to have been a resounding success as well, with funding from Orr and others.