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Mission PD gifts Thanksgiving turkeys at traffic stops

Thursday, the Mission Police Department handed out over 300 turkeys and sides before Thanksgiving week. It is the second year the city of Mission gives constituents and travelers a personal gift for appreciation and community solidarity.

“We’re giving a little over 300 turkeys to the community, free of charge,” said Mission Chief of Police Cesar Torres, who just finished handing out free turkeys to passing cars in the Mission PD parking lot. “It’s a big honor for us to serve our citizens. Because our priority, besides public safety, is to serve our citizens. And how else to serve them besides protecting them…giving them a turkey during the season?”

Torres and Mission police officers patrolled the city at noon, stopping drivers of older-model vehicles with expired licenses or violations.

“Sometimes people need the money, or they can’t pay bills, or they can’t afford to buy groceries,” said Torres. “People can’t afford turkeys nowadays.”

Valentin Martinez of Pharr, Texas, was the first to receive a turkey instead of a ticket.

“[I felt] nervous,” Martinez said as he stood on the side of the road as Chief gave him a small turkey. “Now, I feel relieved.”

Another family from Reynosa received a surprise, with one of the passengers excitedly waving at Torres while he brought them their Thanksgiving meal.

“It’s a big surprise,” said Balbina Cruz Vasquez. “God blessed us because we didn’t even have enough to afford one.”

A single father of Donna was ecstatic to receive a turkey to spend with his three children.

“It’ll be easier for me now that I have a turkey to feed my kids,” he said.

Inside the police cruiser, Torres said these surprise stops build connections within the community.

“We’re [PD] also people, so we care for our citizens,” Torres said while patrolling. “We want the people to trust us whenever there’s a problem…and know that we are here for our citizens. And without our citizens, we are nothing.”

Torres also applauded the continuous efforts of the city of Mission working to provide equality-based initiatives.

“The Mayor and council continue to push initiatives so that our citizens can have a better place and be proud to be from Mission,” said Torres. “So, that’s a blessing for us.”

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