YARMOUTH — A “positive tickets” program is giving police officers a chance to interact with kids in a constructive way that also allows them to build a foundation between police and the community.

Yarmouth Police Chief Daniel Gallant gave a “positive ticket” July 15 to a young scooter rider who wore a helmet. Courtesy Yarmouth Police Department

Police Chief Daniel Gallant said his department is working with Casco Bay CAN on giving out the tickets, which include gift cardd to Handy’s Yarmouth, a downtown market and eatery. The goal is to catch kids taking part in safe and healthy activities, or doing good deeds of some kind.

Casco Bay CAN, a nonprofit that collaborates with civic and municipal organizations to keep area youth drug- and alcohol-free, “does wonderful things for our communities and is a great resource for information and support,” Gallant said.

His officers have been told to look for kids wearing a bike helmet, playing a sport or participating in another healthy activity, or doing something beneficial like picking up litter.

The response has been “great,” Gallant said, and the officers “really enjoy being able to interact with kids in this way.”

Gallant also takes part in the program and recently gave out a ticket to a youngster he saw on Main Street on July 15 who was wearing a helmet while riding his scooter on the sidewalk. The boy said he always wears his helmet and was very excited to be ticketed.

Other youth getting tickets recently included a child at the playground on Juniper Lane who was commended by Officer Amie Rapa when she saw him giving his mom a ride on the swing. Steven Walsh, who was painting food booths for the upcoming Yarmouth Clam Festival, was also given a positive ticket by Officer Shawn Miles for volunteering his time in the community.

Beth Blakeman-Pohl, program director at Casco Bay CAN, said her organization has also worked with police departments in Falmouth, Cumberland and Freeport on the positive ticketing program, which, she said, is based on a national project. She said Casco Bay CAN first began implementing it eight years ago and also works with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office to cover towns that don’t have their own police force.

Yarmouth Police Officer Shawn Miles gave out a positive ticket to Steven Walsh, who is volunteering at this year’s Clam Festival. Courtesy Yarmouth Police Department

The Yarmouth police are making an extra effort this summer to show off kids receiving positive tickets by posting photos on the department’s Facebook page. Blakeman-Pohl said parents are often very appreciative of the program and having their kids recognized.

Unfortunately, she said, even though local police departments look forward to the program every summer, funding for the project is running out and it will end in 2020 unless another pot of money can be found. Anyone interested in supporting the program should call 688-8816.

Blakeman-Pohl said the positive tickets program is something local law enforcement agencies have asked to participate in, especially during the summer months. “The idea is to engage youth so that they feel law enforcement is more approachable and to recognize youth choosing healthy activities, such as playing basketball, instead of using substances,” she said.


Comments are not available on this story.