The Metropolitan Police Department gave away 2,000 turkeys Monday morning to local charities, churches and other organizations in Southern Nevada for distribution to needy individuals and families throughout the holidays.
“Holiday season can be extremely busy for Las Vegas Metro but (it’s) also the most rewarding time,” Metro Sgt. Jason Santos said at an event launching the department’s season of giving drive. “The more that we engage the community, the better chance we have to build trust, to build bridges.”
Dozens of representatives from Blue Cross then helped carry frozen birds to nearly 30 cars, which drove off stacked to the windows.
Each police area command received 150 turkeys to deliver to residents identified by community-oriented policing teams. Representatives from several other organizations, including Curbside Community Center and the International Church of Las Vegas, waited in the 29-car line for their allotments of turkeys.
Santos said Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada would receive 150 turkeys for its Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless.
Santos said such community involvement by police correlates to a reduction in violent crime, citing a 73 percent decline in violent crime in the Bolden Area Command, near the Historic Westside, after a police-sponsored baseball league was introduced in 2017. Similarly, officers have been targeting “issues directly related to poverty” downtown and have since seen a 43 percent decrease in violent crime in the area, Santos said.
“Community policing is working,” he said.
The holiday season drive was sponsored by Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in partnership with the LVMPD Foundation.
Latoya Holman, director of community outreach with the LVMPD Foundation, also announced a new partnership with Wynn Las Vegas, which has agreed to stage a benefit performance of its Le Reve show, with all proceeds going to the foundation.
Residents also can sponsor officers and families to attend the show and add to the fundraising total, Holman said.
Closer to Christmas, the LVMPD Foundation will also host Santa Cops, where officers can shop with in-need children.
“For many of these kids, this is the only gift they’ll receive,” Holman said. “We’re able to bring these children to Walmart and they get to shop with our cops in Santa hats.”