In the middle of summer it may be disorienting to see someone dressed up as Santa or an elf. But that was the scene in Herriman Thursday as members of the Hodges family dressed up to present the city’s police department with letters of gratitude during a “Christmas in July” event.

Teddy Hodges, a Herriman resident who organized the event, said it is a response to recent police brutality demonstrations and critiques of officers nationwide.

“Right now with the national recognition of law enforcement and back the blue and the support they need and the scrutiny they’re getting, we need to make sure that we have opportunities to share … love and kindness,” he said in an interview.

The goal of the event isn’t to change the public’s opinion of police.

It’s just the opportunity to show, hey, one person … can change the life of one officer,” Hodges told The Tribune.

“It’s not trying to change the whole nation’s viewpoint or trying to change the community’s viewpoint, it’s just trying to brighten that one person’s day.”

Hodges asked community members to send him letters of appreciation to police and he said he received more than 100 in just a few days — enough for one or two letters per officer.

Herriman residents also donated money for snack bags and Hodges was able to assemble a treat bag for each officer.

Hodges said the city has had a strong relationship with the police department since Herriman left UPD to form its own agency in 2018.

As a former law enforcement officer, Hodges said he understands how stressful the job can be. It is important, he said, for police to know the public supports them.

“These guys risk their lives every single day … maybe not in the suburbs of Herriman but [it’s] true they go to war every day,” Hodges said.

“There are many things we can’t control but showing kindness and compassion is one thing that we can all control.”