The Mesquite Police Santa Cop Toy Program is an annual event that began over 40 years ago. In 1975, Mesquite Police Officer Reese Bullard was assigned to a low-income apartment complex and knew of several families that are unable to provide Christmas gifts for their children. Moved with compassion, he began a way for law enforcement to assist those families in need and vulnerable in their own community. This officer made arrangements for these families to receive Christmas gifts and each year the need grew. In 1982, the program went citywide. It has continued to grow each year. Last year the Santa Cop Program provided gifts for over 1,000 children from over 380 different families.
The mission and purpose of the Santa Cop Toy Program is to provide assistance during the Christmas season to disadvantaged children and families in Mesquite and the surrounding communities served by the Mesquite Independent School District (MISD). Patrol officers and MISD school counselors select the disadvantaged families. Once they have been selected, they attend a special Christmas holiday presentation involving Mesquite police officers, MISD school district personnel, Citizens Police Academy volunteers, students, and many more community volunteers. This festive event provides a generous amount of age-appropriate and donated toys to give to these needy children.