Police in Texas Town Give Holiday Gifts to Good Drivers
In addition to giving out tickets to drivers who cause car accidents, police in one Texas town did something recently to celebrate the season by handing holiday gifts to some drivers who follow the rules of the road, in a project that might inspire other communities throughout the U.S. to take a similar action. The holiday gift project took place in the north Texas town of Prosper during the week of December 12 to 16, where police were on the lookout for drivers who pay attention to the law.
Police focused on drivers around school zones, but canvassed the rest of the town as well. Law enforcement officials looked for those drivers wearing seat belts, avoiding the use of cell phones in school zones, and heeding speed limits. When they saw such drivers, they randomly stopped some of them and handed them $10 gift cards, good to use at any retailer that accepts debit and credit cards.
A Prosper news release written by Celso Martinez says that the money to fund the gift-card program comes from the police department’s contribution fund, and from money raised in community events and set aside for special projects. None of the funds came from tax sources.
The press release quotes Assistant Chief Assistant Chief of Police Gary McHone:
Generally, those who follow traffic rules are almost always rewarded with fewer accidents, no citations, and creating a safe environment for everyone. However, during the week of December 12 to 16, we will provide an additional reward to some of these law-abiding drivers as a way of saying thanks. […]
By far, most Prosper residents are aware of, and strictly follow, traffic laws. We want to say thanks to a few of those who do by giving them a small gesture of our appreciation…
Ross Kenneth Urken writes for AOL Autos that “It’s also good PR and outreach for the police department, which can get a bad rap as a punishment-only organization waiting for us in speed-traps.”
McHone told AOL, “The old adage of ‘protecting and serving’ — it’s a highly used phrase, but this is an opportunity for us to put a different twist to the ‘serving’ part of it.”
According to an Associated Press article on Statesman.com:
[McHone] said police took care not to make the gesture seem like a traffic stop. […]
Prosper is a fast-growing town of about 10,000 residents 30 miles north of Dallas.
AP reports that the gift-card program cost Prosper $600.
Wikipedia’s Prosper, TX, page says:
Well-known residents include current Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Torii Hunter, LAA Angels pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, and former Dallas Cowboys football player Deion Sanders who own large parcels of land. Many residents are professionals who commute to McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas and neighboring communities.
Prosper was named in the D Magazine 2010 Best Suburbs List as the 5th Best Suburb in the Dallas Metropolitan Area.
Image by prospertx.gov, used under Fair Use: Reporting.