The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has followed up last year’s controversial Christmas card with a sequel.
This year, Santa – Chief Bob Rich in disguise – acknowledges he might have been naughty in 2012 when he sported full tactical gear and carried an assault rifle.
The new holiday card depicts Santa writing the line “I will not play with guns” on a chalkboard, as a stern Mrs. Claus – portrayed by APD Insp. Carol Powell – watches over him.
Cheekily tucked into Santa’s right boot is a handgun.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the card is an acknowledgment that last year’s version (in photo at left) offended some people and that “even Santa makes mistakes,” although he estimates that 90 per cent of the public response the APD received in 2012 was positive.
MacDonald said the objective of the holiday card is the same this year as last. In 2012, the card was sent out not only to the APD’s regular list of recipients, but to almost 100 offenders in the community.
The greeting on the inside encouraged them to make different choices in life and to contact the APD if they wanted to make a change.
MacDonald said four of these offenders came forward to the APD and thanked them for the message.
“One of them even referred to his arrest as a rescue,” he said.
About 80 cards are being mailed to offenders again this year with a similar note to consider making a lifestyle change.
Rich said he hopes the message gets through.
“I hope that a good number of the people who get this card really stop and think about their lives. I hope they actually try to make a change. They can choose a different life and everybody needs to know that’s always within their power,” he said.
The 2012 card attracted media attention from around the world, including mentions on television shows such as Live with Kelly and Michael and CNN journalist Anderson Cooper’s former talk show.