Mapleton police are keeping a sharp eye out for the youths in their city, tickets ready to be whipped out and issued at the first sight of ... responsible decision-making?
Yep: Wear a helmet, get a "ticket" – and then score some free ice cream.
For the second year in a row, the police department of the southern Minnesota city and local convenience store Maple Mart are teaming up to reward kids who protect their noggin.
"The entire purpose of the safety ticket is to encourage youth and children to wear helmets in hopes that it could prevent any type of head or brain injury," Mapleton Police Chief Ben Honsey told BringMeTheNews in an email.
What are the rules?
It's a pretty simple concept.
If you're 12 years old or younger, and police spot you wearing your helmet while on a bike, skateboard, scooter, or other wheeled device, you'll be issued one of the "tickets."
Take that safety ticket to Maple Mart, and you get a free ice cream cone.
"They’ll bring it in and they feel important, because it’s like they’re purchasing it, they did something good," Maple Mart Manager Nancy Sohre told BringMeTheNews. "It’s fun for them."
How it started
It's the second year the police and Maple Mart are doing this.
The inspiration was a program AAA and Dairy Queen do, Honsey explained – except Mapleton doesn't have a Dairy Queen, so they looked elsewhere.
Maple Mart, he said, is right in the center of the community, and known for their ice cream – so it made for a good fit, which Sohre appreciates.
"It's nice keeping business local," she said. Maple Mart has been open and family-owned since 1986.
The chief printed 50 tickets last year, and while Honsey didn't keep an exact count, there weren't many left by the end of the summer.
This year, he made up another 50.
"They are very excited and thankful," the chief said of the kids' reactions. "This also helps to reinforce that their children should wear helmets."
Wrote Maple Mart on Facebook: "Can't wait to see how many tickets will be handed out this summer!"