Santa repents for gun-toting Abbotsford Police Xmas card

A year after sending Christmas cards featuring an attention-grabbing photo of a gun-wielding Santa Claus, the Abbotsford Police Department's new card design features a more penitent message.

Police department admits mistake with last year's card, offering a more peaceful message for 2013

The 2013 Abbotsford Police Department holiday outreach card for prolific offenders in the community features a repentant Mr. Claus. "Santa's feeling a little bad for all the trouble he caused, and he got in trouble with Mrs. Claus," Chief Bob Rich said. (Abbotsford Police Department)

A year after sending Christmas cards featuring an attention-grabbing photo of a gun-wielding Santa Claus, the Abbotsford Police Department's new card design features a more penitent message.

The 2013 holiday greeting card again features Abbotsford Police Department Chief Const. Bob Rich dressed as Santa, but this time, instead of being dressed as a member of a SWAT team, Mr. Claus is shown writing lines on the chalkboard as a stern-looking Mrs. Claus scrutinizes.

"I will not play with guns. I will not play with guns...." Santa writes.

Last year's card, which was the first such holiday-outreach effort directed at prolific offenders, was meant to stir some deep thought about life choices, but the the violent depiction of Santa created some discussion and debate, and some negative blowback from the public

"Even Santa makes mistakes," the department said this year.

Some repeat offenders in the Abbotsford, B.C., area got a card from police in 2012 asking "which list will you be on next year?" The card was controversial because Santa, in SWAT gear, was toting a gun. (Abbotsford Police Department)

Still, the message delivered by the gun-toting Santa card, did make a numbers of repeat offenders stop and think last year, Chief Bob Rich said.

"We got four positive responses from people that responded to getting a card, and communicated with us one way or another about wanting to change their lives," he said.

"Here's the deal: We should never stop asking people to make a difference choice," Rich said. "I hope that a good number of the people who get this card really stop and think about their lives... They can choose a different life, and everybody needs to know that's always within their power."

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