The holidays are often the busiest time of year for law enforcement. Police are out in full force to make sure you’re on your best behavior.
News 15 got a chance to ride along with a local department to see how they’re catching drivers for something you might not expect.
Officer Cory Melancon pulls over a maroon van in a Youngsville neighborhood.
“The reason you were stopped is you were seen doing a good thing today,” he tells the driver. “The Youngsville Police Dept. would like to reward you today.”
It’s part of the annual gift card giveaway. Local businesses donate, and instead of handing out tickets to bad drivers, police get to hand out fun freebies to good drivers.
“I’ve gotten from tears to just can’t stop laughing because they’re so excited and anxious just by getting pulled over, they’re kind of mixed emotions,” Sgt. Pedro Alexander says. “So you really don’t know from their perspective what’s going on.”
One of the drivers we pull over breaks into laughter.
“He’s following me and he put on his flashing lights and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to get pulled over, and I don’t even know what I did.’ My mom was like, ‘Just pull over,’ so I pulled over. He was like ‘Step out of the vehicle.’ I was like ‘Wait, what? I didn’t do anything! I thought I just stopped at the stop sign!”
Car after car, it’s such a fun surprise for everyone who gets a new coupon to somewhere. But it’s a lot more than just a fun holiday gift. It’s helping change the actual perception people have of police.
“To take the bad like that normally is shown to a good, a good time of the year. Especially with the holidays,” Sgt. Alexander says. “Everyone’s not fortunate to have a better holiday but maybe the little things that we’re doing is giving them a better end of the year.”
Youngsville police hope to keep brightening people’s days and opening their hearts for years to come.