COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — Like any other day, Coatesville police are on alert, watching for what may go wrong.
“We’re trying to deter criminal activity,” says Sgt. Rodger Ollis.
But on Friday, Sgt. Ollis is responding to what’s right by ticketing children he sees in the community doing something positive.
“I caught you doing something right, and I’m going to give you a ticket,” Ollis said to four-year-old Jacob Morales, who was playing with classmates at a local park. “I talked to your teachers. They tell me you’re leading by example, you’re well-behaved, your work is done on time, you work really hard – and that is going to make you a success.”
The ticket is worth ten dollars and can be placed into a Kids’ Klub savings account at the Coatesville Savings Bank, which has partnered with the police department by setting aside $1000 so far for this initiative.
It’s a start to the kind of future Jacob’s mom, Grace Lopez, envisioned when she brought him here from Puerto Rico.
“I’m trying to do the best that I can,” she said to him, as she teared up. “I’m proud, you know?”
Throughout the day, Eyewitness News watched as four-year-old Ivana Villicana picked up litter while walking with her mother, Alexis Rivera. Coatesville police handed the little girl a ‘citation,’ too.
“I’ve always taught them to throw their trash away or to give it to me and not put it on the ground,” said Alexis Rivera. “it’s great that they noticed her doing something right.”
Four-year-old Charlie Coleman also got a ‘ticket’ for listening well to his teacher’s instructions while on the playground.
“It’s awesome. It’s a great incentive for them to stay positive and to keep them on the right track,” said Shamiah Fiorentino-Parker, Charlie’s mom.
These are just some of many families the bank hopes to touch.
“It’s going to start their financial career for college or to save for the future,” said branch manager Latifah Lamb. “We are a community bank. Hopefully this will help the children out a lot and also get to understand the coatesville police aren’t bad at all.”
It’s an effort to build trust between children and cops early on. While the ticket is valued at $10, police hope the lessons are worth infinitely more.
“What people do when they don’t know others are watching shows their character the most,” Ollis said.