- Associated Press - Thursday, December 22, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Lucky motorists are being pulled over by Wichita police officers and handed $50 gift cards instead of citations.

The gift giving is part of a community-relations project launched by the city’s police department, according to the Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/2h5JCdP ).

The giveaway started Wednesday. Over the next couple of days, 29 traffic violators will be given a gift card and a warning to drive safely, instead of a fine and a court date.

The gift cards are being handed out to drivers with minor violations because it is illegal for police to randomly stop a motorist without probable cause that a violation has occurred.

Officer Eric Piotrowski said he’s never done anything like the giveaway in his 29 years on the force, but it was fun to give people something they wanted for a change.

“It’s always good to make people feel good, especially when they think something negative is going to happen,” he said.

Steven Casey, a floor technician at Wesley Medical Center, was pulled over by Piotrowski and handed a gift card.

“I appreciate him, I mean, I wasn’t expecting this,” Casey said. “I thought a citation and ticket would be coming, but he actually gave me a gift card. It was a wonderful day for me.”

Police spokesman Charley Davison said the idea was to show holiday forgiveness and thank the community for their supporting the police. Davidson and Police Chief Gordon Ramsay recruited Kwik Shop and QuikTrip as sponsors of the giveaway.

“It’s through the relationships we have with our community we’re able to solve crimes from misdemeanor to violent crimes,” Davidson said. “Many times the community’s our eyes and ears, reporting what they see, what they heard, calling us when suspicious activity happens.”

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com


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