Usually getting pulled over by the RCMP means you have done something wrong but on Vancouver Island you don’t to fear the worst if you are stopped by the police. In this case, Nanaimo RCMP are into their third summer of handing out positive tickets to deserving youth.
For everything from picking up a piece of garbage to holding a door open for an elderly citizen, it’s a way for officers to continually engage with the community.
“We’re walking down the streets, we see some young boys and girls holding their parents hands, we stop them and the first thing we say is ‘you’re not in trouble’,” Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Gary O’Brien says.
“We point out the behaviour, give them the ticket, share some laughs and we’re gone.”
Every ticket provides free access to one of the city’s ‘recreational facilities for any activity like swimming or skating, which helps promote exercise.
It’s a sweet reward, for a small gesture but one that is expected to have a lasting impact on this relationship.
“It’s nice for the kids to find police presence positive rather than being something to be scared of,” says one father whose child received a positive ticket.
The Nanaimo RCMP have handed out 3,000 tickets since the program began in 2012.
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