This year, the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has extended its list of Christmas card recipients to include criminals and trouble-makers.
“Operation Resolution” involves cards being sent to a few dozen prolific offenders, property offenders and people known for drug and gang activity in Abbotsford.
On the front of the card is an image of Police Chief Bob Rich dressed in a Santa costume and tactical gear with the message, “You are always only one choice away from changing your life.”
The inside of the card states “For the sake of your family and for your own sake, consider 2013 the year you choose a new and better life.”
A phone number is listed that will lead the caller to a recorded greeting, encouraging them to leave their name and contact information so that someone from the APD can follow up with them.
Const. Ian MacDonald acknowledges that the majority of recipients will think it’s a joke.
“I think there will be that precious moment when they open the card and go, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” he said.
But MacDonald said members of the APD, including himself, have fielded calls in the past from people wanting to escape their criminal lifestyle.
He said this is the time of year that many people consider where their lives are headed.
“The holiday season is a time of reflection, and it’s not just for people who are making good decisions.”
MacDonald said Operation Resolution was the idea of Sgt. Mike Novakowski, the same officer who three years ago initiated the “Operation” series of school presentations, posters and videos aimed at steering kids away from the gang lifestyle.