TEGA CAY, S.C. -- If an officer is giving you a ride, more than likely you’re in some sort of trouble in the back of a police car. But each year, during the holidays, the Tega Police Department takes off the badge to shed a little light on the community.

“We as police officers are here to help,” says Sergeant Rob Burns of the Tega Cay Police Department. “Part of that is being involved in the community, getting to know the people.”

They do this through the Christmas Guided Light Tour, an idea that blossomed from a department in Major Nelson’s home state of Illinois.

“While I was there I met up with a local officer,” Nelson explains. “I fell in love with it immediately and said we gotta do this in Tega Cay.”

The officers hop in the driver’s seat in rented vans, giving folks in the community a ride around to check out Christmas lights in the local neighborhoods. It seems standard on the surface, but the meaning behind the lights goes much deeper than just decorations.

“Our success is dependent upon how our community perceives us,” Nelson says. “This is just a small way of saying thank you to our community at the end of each year, for the just overwhelming amount of support that they provide to us.”

You can join in the fun Thursday from 6-8pm. The vans leave from Phillip T. Glennon Center. The night begins with cookies and a visit from Santa. The best part, it’s all free.