Tonawanda News — Local police departments are taking part in a nationwide, feel-good event — Operation Chill — and are giving kids a free treat for a hot day.
The operation is put on by 7-Eleven, and each year, the convenience retailer distributes Slurpee coupons to agencies to distribute to kids for good behavior. City of Tonawanda and Kenmore police departments are excited to be part of the project.
“It’s really fun, it gives us an opportunity to have positive contact with the young people,” Kenmore Police Chief Carl J. LaCorte. “I’m afraid of what they always see on TV, always arresting people. We want to make a good impression on the young people.”
Kenmore Police are in their second year of participating. LaCorte said their officers often give the coupons out when kids are riding their bicycles with a helmet, or wearing their seatbelt in the car. Officers can give them to children whenever they choose for doing good deeds, being kind, or doing community service.
“Over the years, and I’ve been here 44 years, the one of the most annoying things I have heard is a parent tell a child, ‘if you’re not good, I’m going to tell a police officer,” LaCorte said. “We are not the boogey man, we are the good guys. You have to tell your kids, ‘you can come to us if you have a problem, if you are upset.’”
City of Tonawanda Police Department is also taking part in the event.
“Operation Chill provides another tool, a tasty frozen tool, that law enforcement can use to “break the ice” with today’s youth,” said John F. Ivancic chief of the City of Tonawanda Police Department.
Ivancic said he hopes that kids will learn that people do care they are doing the right things, and that there are benefits for contributing positively to society.
This year, the store gave over one million coupons to 600 agencies, and LaCorte said if they run out, 7-Eleven will send them more. The project began more than 17 years ago in Philadelphia after increases in loitering, shoplifting, and graffiti use. The project national went national the following year.
Since its beginning, more than 11 million Operation Chill coupons have been given to law enforcement agencies where 7-Elevens are located.