ROCHESTER COOPERATES WITH SANTA
The thought is overwhelming: millions upon millions of families visited by Santa
Claus over the course of one evening. Still, it's probably the magic behind the myth
that pulls it off year after year. Locally, Rochester, New York pitches in, to allow
swift access in and out of the city and surrounding areas. The United States Secret
Service is held accountable for Santa's safety. Resident Agent, Dan Snow-
SNOW: Right, we would give Mr. Claus the same kind of treatment as any dignitary coming
into Rochester. And that would include a forward advance team. Obviously, we would survey
the routes, but of course we could not reveal what those were, for security reasons.
Standing by Christmas Eve is the staff at the Greater Rochester International
Airport. Air traffic control specialist Larry Schriver can track Santa's sleigh miles
away from the area. But says because of the rising number of aircraft in the skies these
days, Santa can no longer rely totally on his reindeer.
SHRIVER: And I guess years ago, Rudolph used to just light the way with his nose. But you
know, in today's high density travel environment, that really doesn't get it. So, if he
was in bad weather where he couldn't see where he's going, then he would have to file an
IFR flight plan, to fly by Instrument Flight Rules…Ordinarily, we tell him where to go
but in this case we don't know who all's been good and who all's been bad. So he tells us
which direction he wants to go and who's house he wants to stop at. Then we give him
clearance to take off and he goes on to the next house. And when he's through here, we
hand him off to Buffalo or Syracuse depending on which way he's going.
Dan Snow says his department can't breathe that collective sigh of relief until they
hear the big guy ho--ho-ho-ing his way out of the Rochester area. And the Secret Service
will place various hospitals on emergency stand-by, just in case. Though their services
have not been required in recent memory.
SNOW: In the past, no. A few slips on the rooftop maybe but nothing that has result in us
having to .. take him to any of the hospitals that we survey. And we do stay with him
right throughout his Rochester stopover. Regarding seciurity, you probably should keep in
mind that any elf you see, may be one of our agents.
Rochester Police Chjef Roy Irving's force works closely with the Secret Service to
ensure a smooth
in-and-out visit by Santa, but Irving admits to an embarrasing incident just a few years
IRVING: There was an occasion when one of our newer officers on the department didn't
recognize Santa, and took him into custody as a burglar. Occasionally we get a call about
a burglar in a home and we go and we find Santa or one of his elves around and.. you know,
we take care of it, we smooth it out with the occupants and then send Santa on his way,
with the thanks of the community.
The speed and accuracy of Santa's deliveries stuns the City of Rochester's Postmaster
SCHUBERT: We do a tremendous job in making our deliveries. For, let's say 10 days prior
to Christmas, we double our volume and in some cases triple it- and what he does in one
night takes us a couple weeks. Old Saint Nick does it in one night, that's amazing. I'd
like to have him come over here during our orientation and maybe he could give us some
ideas or methods..so that we could deliver as rapidly as he does.
How does Santa find out about growing families , new housing tracts and who's been
naughty or nice? Monroe County Executive Tom Frey-
FREY: Well, we've got these long lists of people who live in the County and the tax maps.
The tax maps tell us where every home is located in the County- and that's what we make
available to him. And that also gives us information about the family make-up. And when
there's a child there, we help Santa find out who's been naughty or nice. We go to the
source. We talk to the kids, and we talk to their parents, sometimes we talk to their
teachers. We're trying to do this so Santa doesn't have to go to the Town Supervisors
and the Mayors. He can just come to the County and it's kind of like one stop shopping
for naughty and nice kids.
[ MUSIC CLIP: Lyrics From "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle"
Jingle, Jangle, Jingle
You will my hear my sleighbells ring
I am old Kris Kringle
I'm the king of ding-a-ling
Bill Flynn, WXXI 1370.