Three recipients of the Christmas cards sent to gangsters by the Abbotsford Police Department have responded to say the initiative was a good idea.
Const. Ian MacDonald said the APD did not receive any negative comments from the 70 recipients.
“Operation Resolution” involved cards being sent to prolific offenders, property offenders and people known for drug and gang activity in Abbotsford.
The front of the card featured Police Chief Bob Rich dressed in a Santa costume, decked out in tactical gear and carrying an assault rifle.
The inside encouraged the recipient to “choose a new and better life” in 2013. A phone number was provided that would lead callers to a recorded greeting, encouraging them to leave their contact information so that someone from the APD could follow up with them.
MacDonald said the three respondents included one man who sent a card back to the department with this message: “Thank you for the card. Best wishes to all of you and have a happy new year.”
Another person had a phone conversation to say he had a criminal and drug past and wanted to thank the APD for sending out the card.
The third response was an email from a wife of one of the card recipients. She said she and her husband applauded the department for its innovative idea, and her husband wished that he had someone in his life years ago who would have encouraged him to make better choices.
MacDonald said the response from the public was also mainly favorable, with about 85 per cent voicing positive comments.
The two main criticisms were the depiction of Santa toting a gun and the cost to taxpayers.
MacDonald said the department knew the image might grab some attention, which was the whole idea.
“The image was always intended for adult respondents. We weren’t doing the cover of a children’s book.”
He said the total cost was $325.