By Raena Doty
Arts & Features Editor
By Liv Dunleavy
Between new Chief of Police Joseph Cecchi and the new K9 comfort dog Ramsey, the Fall 2023 Semester has brought big changes to the University Police - and with them, new traditions.
On Monday Dec. 4, the University Police hosted their first ever “Blue Santa - Stuff-a-Cruiser” event on the McCarthy Patio.
Blue Santa, as portrayed by Cecchi, said the event was created with the goal of collecting toys for families in need.
“There’s a lot of people that are less fortunate and might not have the money to make a fulfilling holiday season for their family,” he said.
Cecchi added the department collects the toys and gives them to families in need that have been nominated by the community, and the police do this “to really show that we are part of community, policing and making that connection.”
He said the University Police collaborated with the Henry Whittemore Library and Veteran Services to reach as many families as possible.
Corporal Shawn Delesky said, “It’s important for the community because it gives a chance for us to give back and help people that are in need.”
Alongside his duties as corporal, Delesky also handles FSU’s K9 comfort dog, Officer Ramsey.
“This is Ramsey’s first Stuff-a-Cruiser event. We were super excited to bring him and we thought it was a great chance for people to come out for a good cause, and Ramsey can get some exposure and see everybody,” Delesky said.
He added though the “event speaks for itself, I think Ramsey also draws a crowd, so it goes hand in hand.”
Kianna Bauer, communications dispatcher for the University Police, said setting up the event mostly went as expected, but they didn’t know exactly where to park the cruisers at first.
“This is above the cafeteria, so we were worried about it,” she said, but added it all turned out fine in the end.
Officer James Devens said he’s only been at the police department for two months, and so the Blue Santa event is one of his first big community-oriented events.
“I definitely think it’s better to be more interactive with the community than just kind of being around passively. Much more active in the community is a better way to go about it,” he said.
He said one benefit of interacting with the community is “you get to learn the people who you police. And you get to put your name out there so more people are more trustworthy with you.”
Deputy Chief Martin Laughlin added it’s “good for building rapport with the community. I think it’s key these days - I think it’s huge.”
Sgt. Harpreet Singh, command staff for the University Police, said he’s done the Stuff-a-Cruiser event in years past, but this is the first time they’ve had a Blue Santa at the event.
“The whole goal is to get better each time you help donate to the community,” he said.
Singh added the collaboration with the Henry Whittemore Library and Veteran Services means more donation bins will be available around campus, and though the University Police is open for donations at all times of the day, increased accessibility may make it easier for community members to donate.
He said, “It’s just bringing the community close together, and that’s what we want to do. We want to bring everybody close. We want to be involved as well.
“And then the more involved we are with the community, it makes us feel good about ourselves, but also just the involvement alone,” he added.