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Police rewarding do-good kids
Merchants applauded for helping city cite kids for good actions
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Ceres Police officers realize that most of their contact with the public is of a negative nature with issuing speeding tickets, citations for cell phone use while driving and arresting criminals. But under a new program they are looking for kids who do good and reward them for good deeds and doing things right.

Last year the patrol division thought up a way to "bring some positive to the work he do," said Ceres Police Sgt. Chris Perry, and came up with the Positive Action Street Safety (PASS) program.

"We were thinking maybe some sort of project where we could reward juveniles in our city for doing good things that we observe as police officers, such as kids riding bicycles down the road wearing helmets, stopping at the street and actually using the crosswalk instead of darting across. We thought it would be great to stop those kids and issue them a ticket, but a positive ticket, a ticket that says good job, you're an example to the other kids in the community."

Officer Keith Kitcher spearheaded the project and got ahold of Mike and Sonia Jevert who own and operate the McDonalds at Hatch and Herndon. They offered to team up with Dennis Graspointer owner of the McDonalds at Hatch and Mitchell and Whitmore and Morgan roads to offer passes for a free ice cream or sundae.

Tom Mink, general manager of Valley Printing, donated the printing of the tickets.

"Several of these coupon books were made up and they were issued to every officer in the department, pretty much. Once the other officers were found out that we were implementing this they said ‘let us have some.'"

Sgt. Perry said some of the kids who are pulled over are "all freaked out until we shake their hand and tell them how great of a job they did and how much of a role model they are."

Over 500 coupons have been passed out on the streets. They have also been handed out as prizes at bicycle rodeo events and safety fairs staged at Ceres schools.

Perry publicly recognized the business owners at the Dec. 8 Ceres City Council meeting with plaques.

Mayor Chris Vierra said he was proud of the program and the participants.