Johnston PD issues tickets to kids practicing bike safety

JOHNSTON, Iowa — For police officers, writing tickets comes with the job.

“Just be mindful and as you are out on the streets if you see it then try to react to it quickly,” said Sergeant James Slack with the Johnston Police Department.

For Sergeant Slack these tickets to unsuspecting youth bicyclists have become the best part of his day.

“There we go. We’ll see if we can get them to stop,” said Slack as a bicyclist rode down the sidewalk.

The ticket isn’t for speeding but for demonstrating bike safety.

“I thought I was getting arrested,” said Olivia Bowersox, a soon to be fourth grader.

Bowersox went from shocked to excited when she found being busted in a good way means free ice cream at Van Dee’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Johnston.

Slack explained to Olivia, “I want to give you a ticket for being Busted in a Good Way because you were riding with your helmet safely on the sidewalk and going to opposite direction of traffic so you could see.”

Sergeant Slack believes positive interactions like this can help shape a community’s view of the department. Pointing to his tactical gear and weapons he said, “this stuff should not intimidate anybody ever because it’s just something we carry in the event there is an issue. We are all about this because this is way more fun.”

Van Dee’s manager Ashlee Gill gets to see the impact of that fun whenever a ticket is redeemed.

“I definitely feel their excitement and then they tell me exactly how they got it. It’s very exciting to hear how good they are doing,” said Gill.

In 2021 local Johnston kids redeemed 108 Busted in a Good Way tickets but they aren’t given away to anyone on a bicylcle. These tickets are earned.

“Looking both ways. Using arm signals. Just being awesome because they have good safety. Stopping at the sidewalk before they go out to the street,” Slack said.

In September, all the kids ticketed will have their names entered into a drawing for a chance to win a brand new bicycle donated to them by the Johnston Police Department.

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