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Santa Comes Early For Baltimore Family

BALTIMORE (WJZ) --- Maryland Correctional officers join in an outpouring of holiday spirit. Pat Warren reports, thanks to them Santa came early for a Baltimore family.

Santa's sleigh was considerably lighter when he left the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore on Friday. This was the seventh year employees have adopted families in the city at Christmas.

"We're a big family here at Chesapeake Detention Facility so we just all pull together," Nicole Pettus said.

"I just love seeing the children," Sgt. Sheila Jefferson said.

"And you see their little faces light up when they see those gifts and you just want to keep giving," Karen Gladney said.

The idea originated with jail administrator, Robert Koppel.

"We actually had a family one year that was an inmate's family. We didn't set it up that way, they just showed up. There was no difference. The father actually thanked me. I was walking the jail, the father said that was my family that you took care of. I wasn't able to do it this year and I appreciate you doing that. Each year it grows more and more. More staff get involved. New staff arrives. They get involved," Koppel said.

Almost as much as the staff appreciates the chance to put smiles on little faces.

"It makes you really feel good that we're able to give to those less fortunate. And considering that in the media you often see the dark side of corrections, but this is one of the brighter sides and it's good to be a part of this," Captain Monyetta Montgomery said.

The staff also delivered gifts for children at the Dawson Safe Haven Center in Baltimore's Oliver Community.

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