Heading into February, Jackson police officers are still rewarding good samaritans with cash gifts left over from their annual Christmas donation.
Christmastime 2019 was the fifth year that an anonymous group of donors gave thousands of dollars to the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Jackson Police Department to hand out to deserving citizens.
This year the stack totaled $25,850, the largest donation yet.
Jackson officers have given away $9,500 of their $13,000 share so far, Lt. Roger Schultz said.
“We paid for taxi rides home on New Year’s Eve,” Schultz said. “We provided an Uber and hotel room to a victim of a crime. We gave money to people working on the holidays.”
Some drivers who were in violation of the law even got some cash.
“We stopped a couple people for registration violations and gave them money to pay for their registration,” Schultz said.
The goal is to encourage positive interactions between law enforcement and members of the community.
“We stopped a lady who didn’t have a car seat for her child and bought her one,” Schultz said. “We gave money to a woman who lost her cellphone at the scene of a collision.”
Officers also bought bus tickets for a couple who needed to get to Florida, Schultz said.
Every officer or deputy gets $500 to hand out around the holidays. Most hand out $100 per interaction, and they’re deliberate about who they give it to.
“Officers record each contact, log when and where they gave it, and go looking for opportunities to hand it out,” Schultz said.
The donation was given via check to Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr just before Christmas. He cashed the check and handed it out in $500 increments to his staff and the Jackson Police Department’s staff.
As the annual donation gets bigger each year, it tends to take longer to get rid of all of it. But Carr said the tradition is a reminder of the amazing sense of community in Jackson Hole.
“It really is a good opportunity to let us have positive interactions with folks and recognize the good deeds that happen in our town,” he said.
Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or email@example.com.