CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Being pulled over is never a good feeling. But the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office wants to change how people feel about traffic stops by handing out turkey’s instead of tickets.
This is the second year of the event, and they’ve doubled the number of turkeys given out from 50 to 100 to spread the holiday spirit to twice as many people. Sgt. Donald Shillow says this event helps people see law enforcement in a better light.
“A lot of people look at cops and the first thing they think of is, oh, if we get stopped by the police we’re going to get a ticket,” says Shillow. “Being that Thanksgiving is a few days away, I’m glad that we’re actually doing this and people will see the positive side of it, that way we get to help them out, give them a free turkey and not a ticket where they have to pay.”
The people on the receiving end are thankful.
“I thought, ‘holiday season, here comes the grinch’, but he gave me a turkey so I’m very grateful,” one driver said.
Shillow says the turkeys aren't for everyone though. He checks to make sure their record is clean.
“What we’re looking for is anybody out here speeding, no seatbelts, running red lights, stop signs, any traffic offense, we’re going to stop them,” Shillow said.
Sheriff Tony Mancuso says he hopes this event encourages people to drive safer.
“We think it’s a good way to not necessarily reward bad behavior, but to encourage good behavior,” Mancuso said.
“Our community definitely supports us when it comes to the Sheriff’s Office,” Shillow said. “Doing this, giving out a free turkey is the least we can do to repay them for what they do for us.”
The drivers in the community definitely appreciated it.
“I just want to express my gratitude to the police out there keeping us safe for the holidays and giving back to the community, it’s greatly appreciated,” one driver said.