Soddy Daisy officers spreading holiday cheer with gifts instead of tickets
Getting pulled over is almost never a fun experience, but Soddy Daisy officers are hoping it brings a smile to driver's faces this holiday season through their 'Pay It Forward' campaign.
Getting pulled over is almost never a fun experience, but Soddy Daisy officers are hoping it brings a smile to driver's faces this holiday season.
It's part of the police department's 'Pay It Forward' campaign. Instead of handing out traffic tickets, officers are giving drivers free bags of food, kids toys and other household items.
This is the third year the department has done the campaign. Last year the department gave our 50 bags. This year Walmart gave the department a $2,500 grant allowing officers to give out 100 bags.
Channel 3 got to ride along with Officer Bobby Combs and saw firsthand how much he cares about this campaign.
"When I was a kid I can remember Thanksgivings where we didn't really have much and thinking okay we're not going to have a good Thanksgiving, but there comes a knock on the door and it would be a church or somebody from the community coming in and bringing us boxes of food," said Combs. "If I had a bag to give everybody I stop that's what I would do."
Within minutes of patrolling the streets, Combs found his first driver.
"Hi ma'am how are you? The reason I stopped you is because you were going 56 in a 40," said Combs.
But instead of giving the driver a speeding ticket, Combs gave her one of the gift bags.
"You don't know what that person is going through and around the holidays you know money is always tight," said Combs.
That was the case for another driver Combs pulled over. James Hindman says the gift will go a long way.
"It will help us out. Like I said, I'm out of a job and I'm on disability and it won't start for a while or so. Usually when you get pulled over it's all about money so appreciate it."
Combs made it clear that the Soddy Daisy Police Department does not strive to get some a certain number of citations in order to generate revenue. He says that's not something he and a lot of other officers do not support.
"We can use our position as long as law enforcement in many different ways. It's not always about putting a person in jail or writing a citation."
Not wearing a seatbelt, expired tags and speeding are all traffic violation Combs says he's able to forgive this week. Drivers are warned, but not everything is forgivable.
"See if we were to stop somebody for no seatbelt and then we get out to the car and obviously I can smell use drugs present; being able to smell lets say marijuana we might have to go a different route on that," said Combs.
Combs doesn't believe his efforts will make drivers view traffic violations as less serious. He says he just hopes drivers pay it forward.
Officers with the Soddy Daisy Police Department will continue giving out gift bags to driver throughout the week.