Haverhill Police Pull Over, Stop City Residents—to Spread Holiday Cheer

Haverhill Police Paltrolman Taylor Anderson and Capt. Stephen Doherty handed out gift cards Thursday. (WHAV News photographs)

Several Haverhill residents were caught off-guard Thursday when Police Capt. Stephen Doherty and Patrolman Taylor Anderson pulled them over or stopped them on the street. “I’m not jaywalking!” assured one woman walking along downtown’s Merrimack Street. “Oh, no!” worried another young resident, when Anderson asked for a minute of the woman’s time.

Instead of issuing tickets, officers surprised residents with $20 gift cards to Market Basket, Dunkin’ Donuts and Target. Taking WHAV along for the ride, Doherty and Anderson spread Christmas kindness at Central Plaza and at several spots in the Mount Washington neighborhood.

One Bartlett Street neighbor was extra thankful to see Doherty and Anderson’s cruiser pull up. After she opened a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, the resident told Doherty she left her car lights on overnight and needed a jump. “You picked the second coldest day of the year to do that, didn’t you?” Doherty joked as he helped get her car running again.

Elsewhere in the Mount Washington neighborhood, Anderson stopped a man collecting cans and spoke to him in Spanish. “Un regalo,” she told the man, who opened a gift card to Market Basket and smiled.

“We drive around and try to determine if someone’s in need and do community outreach,” Doherty told WHAV. “Especially now how things are in the country with law enforcement, we’re just trying to make it a happy holiday.”

Chief Alan R. DeNaro initiated the goodwill program earlier this month after soliciting gift card donations from the Haverhill Police Patrolman’s Association, Haverhill Police Superiors Union and local businesses. Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee Gus Scrivanos, who owns and operates six stores in the city, was happy to donate gift cards.

“We have a strong connection to Haverhill and being able to help in a community we know and love, especially during the holiday season, is something we’re proud to be a part of,” marketing manager Christiana Bartolo, speaking on behalf of the Scrivanos family, told WHAV.

Wrapping up the department month of giving Thursday, Doherty expects to play Secret Santa again next year. “The Chief is really pleased with the reaction,” he said.