Many of the kids at Diamond Children’s Medical Center were unable to spend the holidays at home with their families. In response to this sad situation, multiple police agencies from across the region banded together to bring the holidays to the children by setting up a flashing light show made up of a fleet of 41 squad cars.
On Thursday, Dec. 27, officers from the Marana Police Department, Tucson Police Department, Oro Valley Police Department, Pima County Sheriff’s Department and several other organizations gathered their patrol cars on the top story of the medical center parking garage, flashing blue and red lights for the children to see from the hospital tower.
Marana police officer Gabe Tapia and Tucson police officer Leticia Parris took the lead in coordinating the event after being inspired by the “Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams” event in Royal Oak, Michigan, where the community shined flashlights in the nighttime snow outside a children’s pediatric facility.
Beyond organizing the light display for the children in the hospital, Tucson police from numerous local agencies also visited the patients in their rooms, passing out stickers, police patches and speaking with local families.
“It really puts the concept and practice of ‘public servant’ in perspective,” said Marana Police Department Sgt. Chriswell Scott. “If we aren’t seeking out ways to serve and help our community, we are doing policing wrong.”
The Tucson Police Department Air Support even got involved in the celebration, sending out a helicopter to circle the hospital and flash its spotlight on top of the parking garage, highlighting the officers and their colorful vehicles.
“It was just a really good way to connect to our community,” Scott said. “It shows that the holidays are about giving and not receiving... Even though the kids can have their families there with them, it’s not the same as being at home.”
In addition to local town police departments, the Pima Community College Police Department, University of Arizona Police Department, Union Pacific Railroad Police Department, Tucson Airport Police Department, Tucson Fire Department, and U.S. Border Patrol also chipped in officers and vehicles for the holiday light display.