MONROE -- This Christmas, Georgia State Patrol troopers want kids to know that law enforcement is always here to help.
GSP posts throughout the state are collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots campaign, which provides gifts to needy children. This is the third year GSP has participated.
"There are so many kids that don't have anything. If we can brighten their Christmas morning it's 10-fold to us," said Sgt. First Class Doug Wilson Jr., commander of Post No. 46 in Monroe which covers Walton, Newton and Rockdale counties. Toys can be dropped off at GSP posts between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 21.
Troopers with the Monroe post will also be at the Monroe Walmart from 2 to 6 p.m. today and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday and at the Conyers Walmart from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18.
To further spread goodwill, GSP is continuing its child safety seat inspections. Wilson encouraged parents to make an appointment or drop by a GSP post to have car seats inspected. Soon, every trooper in the state will be a child safety seat technician.
Grants are available from the health department to replace seats that are in disrepair, Wilson said.
"Some people buy car seats at yard sales and they don't know the history of the car seat. You don't want to use a child safety seat that's been involved in a collision," he said.
Wilson hopes parents and children alike will recognize law enforcement as a positive force.
"A lot of folks just see us in times of desperation. It gives us a chance to interact with the community better and enables us to educate parents, grandparents and any family member carrying small children around to make sure the car seat is installed properly ... it helps two-fold by allowing us to have positive contact with the community and preventing injury to a child," he said.