JOHNSTON, Iowa -- Johnston Police officers were busy last weekend handing out tickets to kids in the community. But don’t worry… these tickets were a part of a program that rewards good behavior.
The “Busted in a Good Way” program allows officers to reward kids’ good behaviors when it comes to safety. While on their regular patrols, Johnston police officers look for kids wearing their bike helmets, buckling their seatbelts, and looking both ways before crossing the street. They hand the kids a yellow ticket that kids can turn in to Van Dee's Ice Cream Shoppe for a free small ice cream cone. Van Dee's saves all the tickets, and at the end of the summer there is a drawing for a free bike.
“Officers like doing it. It’s a great way for officers to get out into the community, do some community policing while they’re on patrol, and the kids obviously love ice cream and the bike at the end,” Johnston Police Officer Zach Grandon said.
Officer Grandon said the program is a way to get kids out of the house and riding their bikes, and it’s also a way to recognize good safety practices. The program has been going on for more than five years and has been well-received in the community.
“We’ve even gotten calls from parents that said, 'hey, my kid's been out the last three days with his bike helmet on trying to get your guys’ attention,' so it’s always fun to do that,” Officer Grandon said.
He also said the program is a great way for officers to get out and engage with the community in a non-enforcement manner.
“It’s always good to build those relations because it’s not just one officer or two officers assigned to community policing, it’s an entire organization that engages in that, and so this program is really helpful for everybody on all sides,” Officer Grandon said.
The “Busted in a Good Way” program started on June 1st and will continue all summer through September 4th.