The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association says it is ending its annual Christmas outreach tradition, Police Navidad.

“Police Navidad has been a staple in our community for the past five years, but we are doing things a little differently in the coming years,” APDEA spokesman Doug McManis said in an email Tuesday. “The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association has decided to discontinue Police Navidad for the time being and refocus the effort it demands into a variety of other events taking place throughout the year.”

APDEA hosted Police Navidad for five years, but this year’s event has been cancelled.

“Your yearly support of Police Navidad was greatly appreciated and we will be counting on that support in the coming years as we refocus towards bigger and better goals,” McManis wrote.

APDEA president Sgt. Gerard Asselin also thanked the community for their support of the event and the department.

“We had a lot of fun doing it for those 5 years. We very much appreciate the community’s connection to it,” Asselin said in an interview. “But what we envision is an opportunity to do something on a smaller scale more frequently throughout the year. And so we’re looking forward to early next year talking about that publicly.”

McManis said APDEA would make an announcement “in the coming months” about plans to increase APD’s involvement in the community.

Other outreach events still in place include Coffee with a Cop, National Night Out and Project Angel Tree. Asselin said officers also plan on continuing their participation each year at the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble contributed to this report.

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