Deputies and Douglas students do some Christmas shopping together

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Santa's sleigh bells are ringing and so were cash registers at Kohl Sunday morning.

Black Hills FOX Reporter Katrina Lim shows us why officers and students went Christmas shopping together.

12 students from the Douglas School District were strolling through the aisles of Kohl in Rapid City.

As part of the Sheriff's Secret Santa Program, several deputies from the Pennington County Sheriff's Office helped the kids with their Christmas shopping.

Sheriff Victor Gust says he wants kids and law enforcement to have positive interactions with each other.

Sheriff Victor Gust says, "It's important because we don't always get to see kids in a positive atmosphere sometimes when we deal with them on calls or family members. It's not always a pleasant experience for them so we just wanted to have a fun time with them and show them we're here to have fun as well."

Each child could spend up to $60 on Christmas presents.

The idea for the program originally came from Sheriff Gust's wife.

Sheriff Victor Gust says, "So the money was raised from my wife's photography business Nichole Gust Photography. She each year does Santa photos and takes the money she raises from the Santa photos and donates it to a cause."

After shopping, the kids and deputies drove over to Douglas High School to wrap their gifts and eat some pizza.
Many of the kids bought presents for their family, including eigth grader Cody Hattan, who picked a candle for his mother.

Katrina Lim asks, "And what does your mom mean to you?"

Douglas Middle School Eigth Grader Cody Hattan answers, "She means everything. I love her with all my heart. I just like hanging out with her and the real spirit of Christmas is to learn about the Lord and I like Christmas."

Fifth grader Jazlynn Presley was thinking about her two sisters.

Vandenberg Elementary School Fifth Grader Jazlynn Presley says, "I care about them a lot and they're very special to me. I got myself some Barbie toys and I got my sisters some, my sisters some boots."

Sheriff Gust says it's an awesome feeling to know they've helped families have a Merry Christmas.

This is the Sheriff's Office first-ever Secret Santa Program, and they hope to continue the tradition for years to come.