Police officers issue children 'Positive Tickets' to encourage community

by Kelly Ledbetter, |
Walpole Police Officer Paul Lagoa tickets six-year-old Arna. | WBZ-TV/SCREEN SHOT

WALPOLE, Mass. (Christian Examiner) – When Jack's mom got pulled over in her Jeep, she did not expect her six-year-old son in the back seat to be the target of the ticket. But Officer Paul Lagoa gave her son a citation—in the form of a Positive Ticket.

"We saw your son stand by your side and walk with you to the car, and he held your hand," said Lagoa. The ticket he gave the smiling boy was good for a free scoop of ice cream at a local shop.

CBS reports the Walpole police chief has implemented this new initiative to reward good behavior and foster positive community relationships. The Walpole Police Department also participates in the Adopt-a-School Program in which officers build relationships with students and staff by appearing at school events.

Children, parents, and officers love the Positive Tickets program.

"When they realize you're more than just the badge and the blue shirt, it just melts your heart," Lagoa said.

According to positivetickets.com, the purpose of the tickets is to build relationships of trust with community youth and to encourage good behavior.

Positive Tickets have been proven to significantly reduce juvenile problems—by 4 percent over a three-year period in one major city—boost self-esteem and morale, and lower juvenile crime costs.

Lagoa also ticketed six-year-old Arna for holding his mother's hand and nine-year-old Marty for wearing his bicycle helmet.

The children are delighted to realize lights on a police car don't always mean something bad. Marty said, "[At first,] I thought that I was going to get in trouble."

In addition to the ice cream reward, children are excited to meet police officers. "I've never gotten to talk to a police like this," Marty said.

"To put a smile on a kid's face like that, it's priceless. You can't ask for anything else," Officer Lagoa said.