Lifestyle & Human Interest

Police Pull Over Drivers to Give a Thanksgiving Surprise Instead of a Ticket


While much policing goes on without media coverage, this week the Mesa Police Department in Arizona posted mugshots of people who were pulled over for various infractions and then saddled with an unusual ticket.

It was all part of a campaign to raise awareness … that the police are there for their communities. On several days leading up to Thanksgiving, outfitted with a cooler of frozen turkeys, Officer Jason Flam was ready to make some people’s day.

That’s because the department has started a “Turkeys not Tickets” program — which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like — at the suggestion of a commander.

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Flam illustrated how it’s done for KSAZ-TV, who rode along with him one day while he was giving out traffic turkeys. After pulling someone over, he approached them and explained the reason for the stop.

“When you made your turn, you made a wide turn, and we’re supposed to stay within our lane,” Flam explained, before walking back to his car to retrieve the hefty penalty.

For most motorists, it’s a shocking turn of events to see the cop returning to their window with the large, frozen Thanksgiving centerpiece.

“I think it’s a nice gesture,” Darryl, from North Dakota, said. “I was totally surprised.”

“Thank you so much,” said another, who wished to remain anonymous and who already had a turkey but wanted to recognize the kindness. “That’s a real generous offer, I’m kind of shocked by it … but really I would like you to pass it on.”

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Flam caught one driver, Mike Ormerod, just in time.

“In fact, I was on my way to Costco to pick up some Thanksgiving fixings, so this saved me a few bucks,” Ormerod said.

“I think it’s a great idea,” he added of the program. “I was telling the officer there, that I think in the past few years, police officers in general have gotten a bad rap, and they have a tough job, and I think it’s important they get recognized for putting it out there every day.”

The exercise has been beneficial for the officers involved, too, as they get to witness the reactions people have when they get the unexpected gift.

“One lady with this infectious laugh just started laughing, but the tears just were coming down,” Flam said. “And then this other gentleman just put his head down and the tears just, I don’t think that they could afford the turkey, so it worked out really good.

“I don’t think we understood how important this was going to be.”

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