Paso police seek help for Santa

Paso Robles police are once again asking for community donations to help them escort Santa Claus through local neighborhoods.

Officers follow Santa’s sleigh around town in their patrol cars, alerting locals of his arrival to town by turning on their sirens. Santa stops every few blocks so children can come up to his sleigh and receive a candy cane.

Last year, high costs associated with running the event forced the department to cancel the tradition, now in its 11th year.

However, local donors stepped in to pay for officers’ overtime, fuel, a generator and other expenses in running the event, officers said.

This year, the effort costs $5,000.

The holiday tradition was one of many extras cut from the city’s budget to save money and avoid layoffs during the recession. Other nixed extras have included road maintenance and contributing money to Paso Robles’ Fourth of July fireworks event this summer.

Officers plan to bring Santa to town between 6 and 9 p.m. Monday to Dec. 11. Due to the size of his sleigh, Santa does not enter dead-end streets, officers said.

Donations for the effort can be made by check, payable to Up With Kids and dropped off at 711 12th St., or through the online service Paypal at www.prcity.com/police.

Several local businesses are already supporting the program.For questions, call 237-4086.