Tulsa Police Officers Make Traffic Stops To Hand Out Gift Cards

Tuesday, December 17th 2019, 7:41 pm
By: Amy Avery

Tulsa police officers are pulling people over this week, but for some it doesn't mean they'll get a ticket.

The Tulsa Police Foundation received more than $30,000 in donations this year for Acts of Kindness. This week, they're pulling people over for minor offenses and surprising them with gift cards and Christmas meals.

Officers said it's a great way to build relationships with people in the community.

"It catches you off guard. I don’t get hugs often, especially doing police work,” said officer Greg McGowan. “It’s well worth it. It made my day."

The Tulsa Police Foundation said they started with $5,000 worth of donations in 2015, and this year they're giving away close to $30,000 in gifts to people in need.

"Some officers will even go into QuikTrip and they'll stand there, and someone will get $1.85 worth of gas. When they leave, we'll follow them and give them up to $50 in gas cards,” said TPD Foundation Chairman Roger Chasteen.

Helping people like Melissa Battle, a recently divorced mom, who will now be able to buy Christmas presents for her daughter, nieces and nephews.

"I'm the aunt that gets all the presents. I'm their only aunt and I couldn't get them anything this year, so this is going to get them their gifts," said Battle.

"It's a great job, especially on days like today,” said McGowan.

Tulsa police officer Greg McGowan has been patrolling the streets for almost 20 years.

He said he's handed out bikes, computers, gas cards, and now Christmas dinner.

"We'll put ourselves out of service, or 10-6 as we call it, and go pick up. They've got an address and we'll make several runs,” said McGowan. “It’s a good time."

He said sometimes the only contact people have with law enforcement has been negative, and this gives them the chance to change their view.

“It’s the only contact they've had with us and they're basing everything on that one contact so being able to do stuff like this gives them another view of what we do and how we really are,” said McGowan.

The City of Tulsa and TPD are actively working to increase community interaction with law enforcement and days like this helps bridge the gap between officers and community members.

"This gives the officer the opportunity to actually go out and help somebody, not just in a criminal sense but in a need sense," said Chasteen.  

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