Eagle cops on the lookout for people doing the right thing | VailDaily.com

Eagle cops on the lookout for people doing the right thing

EAGLE — Eagle Police Chief Joe Staufer figures he has written thousands of tickets during his law enforcement career.

All of those citations had one thing in common — they were issued because someone was doing something wrong. But a new initiative from the Eagle Police Department will involve giving citizens a written citation for their good behavior.

As envisioned, the Community Service Appreciation Initiative will give officers a chance to reward members of the public who do the right thing.

"Under this initiative, when police officers observe good behavior in accordance with regulations, they may wish to reward the behavior with a quick appreciation talk," said Staufer. "During our appreciation talk, we will provide an appreciation brochure that marks the appropriate 'code box' which corresponds with the code we wish to emphasize."

There are five specific behaviors listed in the brochure:

Adherence to leash law provisions

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Removal of dog poop

Adherence to traffic advisory

Sidewalk snow removal

Adherence to park regulations

There is also a box for "other" that gives officers the opportunity to be creative with their praise. Together with the brochure about the program, the recipient will receive a gift certificate from a local business.

Community policing

Staufer said the reward effort is part of a department emphasis on community policing.

"In practice, community policing involves forming partnerships with community organizations, providing transparency, actively pursuing feedback and establishing programs that allow police to engage with residents outside of the law enforcement arena," he said. "This initiative allows our officers another avenue to break the ice and engage in a friendly conversation with guests or members of our community while providing appreciation for following town regulations."

When delivering a reward citation, officers won't ask for identification or run a name through the system. "This is a quick attaboy or attagirl recognition," said Staufer.

In the long run, Staufer said positive reinforcement yields positive results. That's already proven to be the case.

"This is just the second week of the program and we will asses the effectiveness in the upcoming month," he said. "But the popularity of this program has gained momentum and additional business have pledged support."

Staufer said several rewards have been handed out to individuals who have been spotted walking dogs on a leash while on community paths and to bicyclists who adhere to traffic regulations while using public streets.

"Rewarding good behavior, while promoting local business is another avenue to enhance our community spirit," Staufer said.