Sheriff Joe's Toy Patrols spreads Christmas joy to needy kids

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Scott Pasmore

Posted on December 18, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 18 at 1:00 PM

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and some of his detention officers spent the morning as Santa's helpers, distributing toys to families in need Wednesday morning.

Patrol deputies select the families.

"They know the people on their beat," Arpaio explained.

Dubbed Sheriff Joe's Toy Patrol, the toy drive and distribution have been going on for nearly 20 years.

While business partners and the community are always generous, donations were down this year.

"We're asking for more toys because we want to make sure we can make some kids happy this holiday season," Arpaio told 3TV's Scott Pasmore.

While Arpaio and his department have their critics, some of whom are very vocal, nobody can deny that the Toy Patrol is a wonderful holiday program.

"We have a great organization," Arpaio said. "We want to make sure that we can do whatever we can and reach out to the kids. Kids are very important. They're our future. We're going to do everything we can to help them and also make sure they enjoy Christmas."

The annual toy drive is put on in conjunction with the Youth Assistance Foundation, a non-profit organization that "recognizes the social value in supporting programs focused on preventing youth violence and promoting social development, role models and interaction with law enforcement personnel."

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