Eagle police enforce right to be polite | VailDaily.com

Eagle police enforce right to be polite

Sarah Mausolf
Eagle, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado ” If a police officer in Eagle, Colorado pulls you over, don’t fret.

He might be trying to give you a free breakfast sandwich.

Eagle Police have launched a new program that rewards well-mannered kids with gift certificates to local businesses.

If police officers spot youngsters acting safe or courteous, they’ll issue the well-behaved children gift certificates, Eagle Police Chief Rodger McLaughlin said.

For example, a child who wears a helmet to peddle around town on his bike could get a prize. Or a teen driver who stops for a pedestrian at a crosswalk could score a reward.

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One of the goals of the program is to encourage teens to drive safely.

“It’s come to the point where people sometimes expect teenagers to not be courteous and drive too fast,” McLaughlin said. “We find that’s not the case and we want to reward them a little bit.”

Aside from keeping teens safe, police aim to build a good rapport with local youths.

If children trust their police officers, they’ll be more likely to share information, McLaughlin said.

“Or if they have a problem at home or a problem at school, it enables them to trust us more if we’re out there trying to contact them,” he said.

So far, police have collected about 125 gift certificates to give to kids. They include everything from a free drink at Starbucks to a breakfast sandwich at the Red Canyon Cafe. Gift certificates are worth $5 to $10.

Annie Colby, owner of The Nearly Everything Store at 301 Broadway, contributed $5 gift certificates.

She likes the idea of police rewarding local youths.

“Courteous and polite doesn’t always go hand in hand with kids these days,” she said. “I think it’s neat they recognize it.”

Raenette Johnson, owner of Kuttin’ Korner hair salon at 237 Broadway, plans to give out gift certificates for hair products or hair cuts.

“It’s like the old saying, rewarding good behavior is probably better than punishing bad behavior,” she said.

Participating businesses include Burger King, Eagle Embroidery, Everyday Outfitters, Subway, Wendy’s, Loaf n’ Jug, Red Canyon Cafe, The Nearly Everything Store, Starbucks, Moe’s BBQ, Kuttin’ Korner, Kidtopia and Taco Bell.

The “Safe and Courtesy” program will continue through the end of the summer, and longer if it proves effective, McLaughlin said.

Along with promoting good manners, he hopes the program will draw customers to local businesses.

“It may help our local businesses by drawing in more customers to their businesses, as the recipient of the award may bring in friends or family when they redeem their certificates,” he said.

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