NY Police giving gift cards instead of tickets


Today, Cortland Police Officers were busy pulling people over. But these traffic stops didn’t end with a driver in tears.

Officer pulled over ten cars with minor violations, but with the spirit the Christmas spirit in mind, instead they gave a warning and a $25 gift certificate that can be used anywhere downtown.

We spent the morning riding along with Patrol Officer Patrick O’Donnell who’s been an officer in Cortland for ten years.

“By the nature of our business, we always don’t get to choose how the interactions going to go obviously we’re often responding to people on their not so best day,” said Officer O’Donnell.

Ryan Belo and Elizabeth Shultz were one of the cars stopped. They had their ten-month-old son in the backseat.

“I couldn’t afford a ticket right now because my job just laid me off and I didn’t know how I was going to pay that ticket off and I was just…upset,” said Belo.

The couple calls this as a holiday miracle.

“It actually means a lot because I don’t have to pay a ticket and two, I can get gas right now and pick her up from work later,” Belo said.

Patrol Officer Jesse Abbott organized the effort. He says doing small acts of kindness helps the department show the community how much they appreciate them and provides comfort for the officers.

“Our officers are pretty stressed out throughout the year you know they’re handling over 16,000 calls a year and for a small department that’s quite a bit,” said Officer Abbott.

“The cops actually care about people you know they’re not just in it for the money they really want to help people around this time of year,” said Belo.

All of the money given out in these gift certificates have been donated from businesses or foundations.

Officer Abbott said the department is really just hoping to spread a little extra Christmas spirit this year.

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