AN EDITORIAL cartoon depicting children asking Santa Claus, "Keep us safe from the police," published in a Bucks County newspaper on Sunday has drawn the ire of the Fraternal Order of Police.

In a scathing letter yesterday, Philadelphia FOP Lodge 5 president John McNesby demanded an apology from the Bucks County Courier Times for the cartoon.

"Surprisingly, you have at least one reader of that excuse for a newspaper you run," McNesby wrote. "The one reader forwarded a copy of your disgraceful and highly offensive 'cartoon.' "

He went on to write that the newspaper owed an apology to every law-enforcement officer and their families for the cartoon.

"There is a special place in hell for you miserable parasites in the media who seek to exploit violence and hatred in order to sell advertisements," McNesby wrote later in his letter to the Levittown-based paper.

Since the cartoon appeared in the paper Sunday, it has drawn criticism in letters to the editor and on social media.

In a response to the backlash headlined "To our readers," posted on the paper's website yesterday, executive editor Patricia S. Meagher-Walker wrote: "Our Editorial Page is a forum for opinions, even controversial ones. Letters, cartoons and guest opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our editorial board, rather that of the author or artist."

Meagher-Walker added: "Those who subscribe to this newspaper understand our commitment to the community and our steadfast support for law enforcement and those who work very hard to make Bucks County a better place to live. We are united in that effort," and encouraged angered readers to write letters to the editor. One letter already submitted and published in the Courier Times yesterday came from the wife of a police officer.

Kim DeForrest, of Morrisville, called the cartoon "ignorant," writing in part, "Yes, there are police who make mistakes or poor judgment. However, these fine men and women leave their families every day with a gun strapped to their hip and Kevlar on their chest to go out and protect the fine citizens who read your papers."

McNesby ended his fiery letter with a promise:

"Rest assured that this letter will be distributed to as many residents and businesses in Bucks County as we are able to reach," he wrote. "Here's wishing you a bankrupt New Year."