All across Canada, police departments have been ticketing kids. But they’re not handing out the tickets that incur fines or suspend drivers licenses. “Positive Ticket” citations are giving teens and children free coupons for pizza and ice cream just for obeying the law and putting safety first.
Jarvis Kievill said he got one in elementary school for wearing his helmet while riding a bike and he took home a free pizza from a local business.
In Calgary, a boy got a ‘ticket’ for looking both ways before crossing the road and using the crosswalk and afterward was so proud of himself.
In Kelowna BC, Devon Glowka reports if you bicycling without a helmet your first ticket is actually a voucher you can take to a local skate shop to get one for free.
The program was started by Ward Clapham, a 28-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Richmond, a multicultural community in Vancouver. He wanted to build better relations with the community and reenforce good safety habits in young children.
“We started out small, and then the program began to grow. Organizations donated huge numbers of coupons and passes,” Ward says in his book, Breaking With the Law: The Story of Positive Tickets. “People started to realize the potential they had to encourage positive behavior in youth and the program just started to explode.”
Ward and his Richmond detachment, were handing out 40,000 positive tickets a year (a 3 to 1 ratio compared to violations). “As a result of several youth prevention initiatives, including positive tickets, our youth-related service calls dropped by almost 50%, keeping more than 1,000 youth out of trouble with the law,” writes Ward.
“The Positive Tickets idea started with a simple vision—imagine cops catching kids for doing things right!” says Ward on his website, PositiveTickets.com. “Imagine police officers hunting for the positive in youth, instead of just the negative.”
Ward, now retired, has taken his vision of cops and kids one step further. In addition to transforming police departments and communities, Ward is now assisting organizations, as a speaker and consultant, suggesting ways they can put the Positive Tickets philosophy into action by rewarding and recognizing employees and customers to improve the bottom line.