Isle of Wight Deputies celebrate the season with Operation Secret Santa

Posted at 3:21 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 17:12:55-05

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY - Deputies in Isle of Wight County say each traffic stop they make comes with a risk.

"It could be a convicted felon who has a hand gun in his lap you just never know what you are walking into," explained Deputy Eric Bertram. "You don`t know what the intentions are of the person sitting in the front seat."

But on Thursday, it was drivers who didn't know what to expect. Instead of handing out tickets, the department handed out ten $100 bills.  The money was donated by the Isle of Wight Optimist Club. President, Michael Murphy says every year they give back to the community, but this year, they wanted to partner with the sheriff's department.

"They are going to think they are being pulled over for a violation and in reality it will probably be a violation but it will be minor," said Murphy. "Instead of getting the ticket they are going to be getting $100 today."

News 3 spent hours with deputies, watching as they kept an eye out for drivers committing minor infractions. Once one is spotted, their work begins, but it doesn't end the way the drivers expected.

"I’m flabbergasted, I really really am," said Jonathan Priddy, who was pulled over for his trailer brake lights not working. "With the holidays here everyone is trying to work through and make ends meet, it’s great."

After presenting Priddy with $100, deputies pulled over Raymond Schwegger, a new homeowner. One of his tail lights were out.

"This is going to to go pretty far, I just bought the house here so this will go to help me do a little extra," explained Schwegger. "This is the best pull over I’ve ever had thank you ."

It's not just drivers who enjoyed the twist in the traffic stop. Deputy Bertram and Lt. James Pope could both be seen smiling after presenting drivers with the cash.

"We like to see the good side of people a lot of the times we have to deal with the bad side or the sad side of people depending on the situation. We like to give our smiles and have smiles ourselves it’s great," said Lt. Pope.