Group of NYPD officers in Brooklyn distribute holiday gifts to families in need

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Police officers in Brooklyn are thinking about kids whose families can't afford gifts this holiday season. They are digging deep to help out the people they serve.

Jeff Maddrey is commanding officer of the NYPD's Patrol Borough Brooklyn North - a collection of precincts stretching from Greenpoint through Bed-Stuy into East New York - some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.

And that is where an epic shopping spree comes in.

"I've had parents, families through the years come up to you and say 'if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be able to give things to my children,'" said Maddrey.

The officers and cadets have spent weeks getting ready for their annual 'Holiday Sleigh Ride,' when, dressed as superheroes, they will go across the borough distributing gifts to families in need.

The funds are donated by their communities - in some cases, from their own pockets.

Officers Mark Lebron and Jared Akins are neighborhood coordination officers - or NCOs, in a NYCHA complex, where last week, a family suffered a devastating fire - they are now about to get a brand new TV.

"We're not gonna forget that family," said Officer Lebron.

With dozens of bags, they returned to the borough command, where they have been sorting and wrapping gifts. The planning is precise - it is, after all, a police operation.

"We have meetings! We talk about unisex toys, girl toys, boy toys," says Detective Kaz Daughtry.

There are nearly 12 vans filled to capacity with wrapped gifts and bikes, ready to spread out to every precinct in Brooklyn North, and make their deliveries on Saturday.

The group of crime fighters is delivering more than just gifts.

"Listen, we're police officers, however, we are human. Some mom, dad, grandma, guardian may need a little extra help this Christmas, and this is what we're here for," Daughtry added.

The NYPD is urging people who want a toy to register in advance by contacting their local neighborhood coordination officer.

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