Madera County deputies spread holiday cheer

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Just in time for Christmas, Madera County Sheriff's deputies took a break from issuing tickets to instead spread some holiday cheer.

Getting pulled over and receiving cash? Not exactly your routine traffic stop, but that's exactly what happened in Madera County on Wednesday. Armed with stacks of cash from an anonymous donor, sheriff's deputies spent the day handing out money instead of tickets. "With all the issues in terms of police and community relations we thought it was a great thing to take advantage of," Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney said.

Sgt. Zack Zamudio was one of several deputies who donated his time to play secret Santa. Just after breakfast he surprised the Valdez family with a knock at their door. Daniel Valdez and his dad were given $100 each for their bravery.

The two rescued a neighbor who was being attacked Tuesday night by a pair of pitbulls. The father and son suffered major injuries in the attack, including 28 stitches to Daniel's face, but deputies say their quick thinking most likely saved the woman's life. "It makes me feel good," Daniel said. "He said we kind of saved the woman's life, but at the same time I wasn't expecting nothing."

The unsuspecting drivers were just as shocked to be on the receiving end of cash. "After this act of kindness does this change your attitude toward law enforcement?" An Action News reporter asked. "Yes it does a whole lot," Daniel said. "To stop you and not give you a ticket and reward you, it's an act of kindness alright. We need more of that."

The department says they planned to give out $5,000 to residents.
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