Thanks to Secret Santa’s $10,000 donation, Shawnee police are handing out cash instead of tickets to community

SHAWNEE, Kan. – Police officers in Shawnee are spreading a little holiday cheer thanks to a generous anonymous donation.

On Thursday afternoon, officers took to the streets, stopping people as they shopped -- they even made a few traffic stops to share the good news with unsuspecting residents.

“We were actually heading to a small group Bible study tonight, and I'm like, 'What did I do?" said Shawnee resident John Kreutzer.

Kreutzer was stopped for failure to signal, but instead of getting handed a ticket, he got a hundred dollar bill.

Over the next few days leading up to Christmas, Shawnee police officers plan to give away hundreds more in a similar fashion.

Many who have received the cash are surprised to get the money, and equally stunned to learn where it comes from.

“We had an anonymous citizen come up to a member of our staff and say, 'Hey, I want to give some of my money to help give back to my community, but I want to use you guys as a filter, as the elves, to build some positive trust,'” explained Shawnee Police Officer Kasie Taulbert.

An anonymous donor gave the department $10,000 this year for the third year in a row.

“He filters it through us as a way to help build positive relationships with our citizens that we serve," Taulbert said. "I think it’s a great cause, and it gets us out there more so than we already are."

Many of the people on the receiving end of this holiday bonus cash share interesting stories of how the money will help them or their families. Gina Sailsbury was stopped by Taulbert in a thrift store. She has five kids and seven grandkids and also lost her leg this year.

“This year has kind of been a challenging year, and so I haven't gotten to work since basically April and short-term disability only goes so far,” Sailsbury said.

She plans to use some of the money to buy Christmas gifts for her grandkids. Others said they’ll use the money to pay it forward.

“Just this morning, my wife told me that we know somebody who's got a need for a bed and that she feels God is telling us to take care of it," Kreutzer said. "We were like, 'We’re not sure we have the money, but we’ll just do it,' and now here’s the money to take care of the need."

Few people in the department know the identity of this generous donor. At the end of each year, officers put together a book, sharing stories of people they gave the money to and someone delivers it to the donor as a way of saying thank you for this generous gift.