In a few of the early years, the route included a portion of Independence as well as much of the city of Maple Plain. It was soon shortened to include only the Maple Plain portion, due to the higher population concentration. The shortened route was about five miles long. In 2005, the route was again extended to include a small section of Independence and the route is currently about nine miles long.
In 1997, the reserves began collecting food donations along the route, helping to fill the local food shelf for the holiday season. In recent years, we have collected over 1,000 pounds of food per year, as well as some cash donations. All of the food and money goes directly to the Maple Plain Area Food Shelf, based out of the Maple Plain Community Church.
View Santa is an annual community event that has been sponsored by the West Hennepin Public Safety Reserves for over thirty-five years on the first or second Saturday in December. It was originally created and presented by the Maple Plain Lions Club prior to the formation of the West Hennepin PSD Reserve Officer Program in 1981, when the reserves adopted the program.
Serving The Cities of Independence and Maple Plain
The event has been held as scheduled regardless of weather conditions, except for one year where air temperatures were about -30°F. That year, it was postponed one week until the temperature was a more reasonable 0°F or so. There have been warm years, cold years, snowing years, years with icy roads and even a couple years where Santa’s trailer was pulled by horses. Regardless the weather, it has been a magical and fun event to start off the month of December each year.
Santa in his sleigh, accompanied by holiday music, is escorted by West Hennepin Public Safety officers in squad cars while reserve officers, in the role of “Santa’s helpers,” walk alongside Santa's trailer and hand out small treat bags with a holiday message to citizens young and old. In the 1980s, the reserves prepared and handed out small bags of candy and a card, along with toys donated by the Carlson Company, a direct marketing and product fulfillment company which was based in Maple Plain. The company moved out in the early 1990s. Since that time, the reserves continue to hand out small bags of candy with a couple of small treats inside.