CRESTVIEW — If several police cars swoop into a neighborhood with lights flashing and sirens wailing, it might be cause for consternation. But if it happens Dec. 19, 20, 21 or 22, chances are good it’s all for an excellent cause, and instead of sirens, neighbors will hear carolers in blue crooning Christmas carols.
The Crestview Police Department’s Cops Chorale consists of eight talented vocalists from the ranks of active-duty patrol officers, command staff, Investigations Division, the Crestview Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, and the department’s chaplain corps.
“Most of us have professional or amateur singing experience,” said Cmdr. Andrew Schneider, the brainchild behind the program, a former band member and guitarist.
The Cops Chorale caroling program grew from a discussion between Schneider and Investigator Chaise Rawles, a tenor and former gospel ensemble singer, whose rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the Fallen Officers Memorial Service in May was praised for its emotional impact.
“To our knowledge, nothing like this has been done in the area law enforcement community,” Schneider said. “We thought it would be an excellent way to have a little fun, raise citizens’ Christmas spirits and give to a good cause that’s close to our hearts.”
To administer the program, Schneider and Rawles turned to CCPAA President Marie Saccaro, whose non-profit 501(c)3 organization will collect donations and coordinate reservations.
“The caroling cops program makes an excellent Christmas present for your business or friends or family,” Saccaro said. “And with us being a non-profit, your donation is tax-deductible on this year’s tax returns.”
All of the money raised — $50 per residential caroling requests, $100 for businesses or organizations — will go to the local Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, for which Crestview student Drew Barefield is a statewide ambassador.
Members of the Cops Chorale will carol on their own time during fixed time slots on the hour and half hour, including eight residential performances each Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 19 and 20, from 4 until 8 p.m.; 14 business and organization slots Wednesday, Dec. 21; and seven morning business, organization or residential slots Thursday, Dec. 22. The ensemble will sing three or four carols at each performance.
The afternoon of Dec. 22, the officers will present the money raised by the caroling constabulary to Ronald McDonald and hospital officials, and will distribute toys raised by the Crestview Police Department’s Cops for Kids program to pediatric patients at Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart.