The holidays just got a lot brighter for hundreds of South Bay San Diego families and Chula Vista Police Department officers are to thank for it.
The department hosted its annual holiday giveaway at the Walmart store on Broadway in Chula Vista on Tuesday.
CVPD officers and staff, Walmart employees, members of the San Diego Strike Force arena football team and professional MMA fighters from Alliance Gym handed out everything from turkeys, to trees, to toys.
“This is what we really want people to see,” said Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy, “That we actually truly do care about our community.”
Alicia Villegas can vouch for that.
She said the police department has been like a second family to her and her two children ever since the murder of her brother, Omar Medina.
His body was found in a barrel floating on San Diego Bay in 2017.
“We definitely miss him. Especially during this time,” Villegas said.
One of the two men on trial for his murder, Thomas Cook, was convicted earlier this month of second-degree murder.
Villegas said she doesn’t know what she would have done without Chula Vista Police by her side throughout the process.
“They were just so loving, so respecting. They treated my brother with such care and such grace, and that’s what you need when you’re going through something like that,” Villegas said.
Chief Kennedy said it is always good to hear positive feedback about her officers but said it’s something she sees every day.
“I think that’s what’s happening here today is that everybody gets to see a chance that these officers really do want to make people’s lives better, being an officer in the community or helping them during the holidays,” Kennedy said. “You get to see that they have a heart behind the badge.”