A mom and her two young children watched with curiosity as a police officer walked up to their car in the A&W Restaurant parking lot in Nisswa and greeted them warmly.
Nisswa Officer Luke Hall introduced himself and said he wanted to give Kelsi Davis's two children - Faith, 5, and Cooper, 3 - a "Nisswa Treat Ticket" for being buckled up safely in the car.
This local endeavor involves the Nisswa Police Department, Nisswa Chamber of Commerce and three area businesses who teamed together to promote a safety program and the town itself. Children can redeem the tickets for a small cone at Dairy Queen, a mini one-topping pizza at Rafferty's or a Muddy Turtle (a chocolate chip cookie covered in chocolate and made by The Ugly Cheesecake Company) at Northern Gifts & Sweets.
Hall said the initiative teaches children that police officers are friendly, approachable and there to help. It also promotes Nisswa. The hope is that people like the Davis family, from Pillager, will redeem their treat tickets, buy more goodies and come back to Nisswa to shop and eat in the future.
Police officers will randomly hand out the tickets when they see children behaving safely, doing good deeds and for various other reasons. The tickets will work as an icebreaker in certain situations as well, as officers make connections with children.
Also as part of the Nisswa Police Department's mission of community policing, officers this spring went door to door in the city to enhance communication with citizens by introducing themselves, sharing information and giving residents the opportunity to voice any concerns and give the department a better understanding of how to service the community.
The department has a relatively new group of officers, so this was a way for those officers to meet residents and vice versa.
Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.