Santa Claus and comic book superheroes joined the real heroes of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North on Saturday for the fourth-annual “Operation Sleigh Ride,” delivering toys to children throughout the area.
The toy distribution event has expanded in just a few short years to become one of the biggest community events leading up to Christmas Day. Officers from precincts across northern Brooklyn prepared bikes, sports equipment and toys to hand out to local children along a 10-stop route. The gifts came through donations from individuals, companies and organizations.
A long line of police vehicles stretched for several blocks, bringing toys to each and every precinct area in Brooklyn North’s confines.
Cops were dressed in various super hero costumes, including Spider-Man, Superman and Wonder Woman. Santa Claus rode atop one of the larger trucks, waving to the children as they drove through the streets.
Communities receiving gifts included the Cooper Houses in Greenpoint; the Bushwick Library; Farragut Houses in Dumbo; the Ingeroll Houses in Fort Greene; Restorations Plaza in Bedford Stuyvesant; the Brooklyn Children’s Museum; Fulton Street in Brownsville; PJ Avitto Community Center in East New York; the Brownsville Recreation Center; and Bushwick’s 83rd Precinct stationhouse, where the Sleigh Ride concluded after eight hours of Christmas cheer.
On board one of the large trucks was Santa Claus, accompanied byAssistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North.
“It’s about us giving back,” Maddrey said. “Reaching out to our communities and taking care of some of those who wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves this holiday season. … The first year, we did about 4,500 toys. Last year, we did about 10,000. This year, we have a goal. We want to give out 12,000 gifts.”
Maddrey added that the NYPD hopes the event builds a stronger relationship with the community.
“Yes, there is definitely a public safety component to it,” he said. “We met one young child today and his mother said that he’s been to the holiday sleigh ride for the last three years and now he wants to become a police officer and that’s exactly what it’s all about – we want to show the children the positive side of police officers we want to do great things in our community and inspire our young people to possibly join our ranks.”