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MAUMEE, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Police officers in Maumee are now handing out
tickets to kids – but they don't have to pay a fine.
They're tickets to get free ice cream. All the kids
have to do to get one is wear a helmet when they're riding their bike or
"If you wear your helmet while riding your bike or
roller blades, the Maumee cops will pass out coupons for children to get a
dollar cone or a dollar off ice cream," explained Kelly Harriagan, whose son
Ryan received such a coupon.
The program started 17 years ago. The tickets are
helmet safety awards used to encourage kids to ride and roll safely.
"I think they know if the police go by, they're
going to get a coupon and they get to go to Penguin and use it," said Sherry
Kersetter, owner of the Penguin Palace.
Penguin Palace is one of six ice cream parlors
where the coupons are valid. Kersetter says she gets 10-15 tickets a week
throughout the summer.
"They can really be hurt, so it's non-negotiable,
they have to do it," she said. "I'm for anything that encourages them to [wear
The program is sponsored by Judge Gary Buyers and
others in the Maumee Municipal Court district. They hope it will encourage kids
to ride safe and build a relationship with officers.
"Kids sometimes get an image of us just arresting
people," said Sgt. TJ Stratton. "But now they get to see a little softer side,
and get that ice cream cone from us."