UK Happenings

Cram the Cruiser donations now being accepted by UK Police Department

This is a photo of UK Police Chief Joe Monroe dressed as Santa Claus.
UK Police Chief Joe Monroe dressed as Santa Claus. Photo courtesy of UK Police.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Police Department’s (UKPD) seventh annual “Cram the Cruiser” toy drive is now accepting donations for patients of UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH). 

From now until Dec. 15, new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at UKPD’s headquarters located on campus at the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. This year, UK Police looks forward to cramming a police cruiser full of new toys. 

KCH has published a list of acceptable items by age, including toys and books for children ages infant to teen, that can be viewed and purchased directly at this link. Additionally, individuals can view more information and make monetary donations at this link. 

“The 'Cram the Cruiser' toy drive is a tradition the UK Police Department looks forward to every holiday season,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. “Being involved in our community is an important part of our core values, and this is a wonderful opportunity to help the children and families who are away from their homes for the holiday. This initiative continues to grow every year, and we invite the UK and Lexington communities to help continue bringing the smiles to the children and their families.” 

For Monroe, delivering toys to Kentucky Children’s Hospital is so special because of the joy it brings to the patients and their families. Each year, Monroe trades in his police uniform for his Santa Claus suit and even wears a full gray beard. 

Important community partners in the toy drive include the family of Jonathan Ard and 3M company of Cynthiana, Kentucky. Ard, a former Green Beret in the U.S. Army who served two tours of duty in Iraq before returning to Kentucky to work as an engineer at 3M, died of leukemia in 2016. His family and 3M employees participate in the toy drive in his honor and join UK Police to deliver the items to KCH. 

For more information, contact Mandi Banahan at 859-218-2338 or 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.