AMERICUS — Americus Police Department officers have been deputized by a higher power, higher even than APD Chief Mark Scott.

The Chief of the North Pole — Santa Claus — has authorized APD to establish an Americus Precinct of the Santa Patrol’s Naughty or Nice Verification Unit.

Starting Sunday, members of this elite investigative unit will begin patrolling neighborhoods of Americus looking for kids who want to verify their status on Santa’s Naughty/Nice List.

Kids verified on the Nice list will receive a candy cane as proof of their good standing.

Look for specially marked patrol cars assigned to Santa Patrol in Americus neighborhoods right up through Christmas Eve, when Santa makes his yearly trip delivering toys to kids on the verified Nice list.

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