2011-06-23 / Front Page
TOPD asking kids to ‘chill’
Operation Chill is expected to continue through the summer, until the department gives away all 1,000 coupons, said Sgt. Romano Bassi. The reward program began Memorial Day weekend
“(It’s) to teach the kids civic duty,” Bassi said “We’ve had good success with it.”
Children who receive an Operation Chill coupon can redeem it for a free icy drink at 7-Eleven. Bassi said he’s verified that every 7-Eleven store in Thousand Oaks will honor the coupon.
The 7-Eleven corporation developed the national Operation Chill program in 1995 to reward youngsters for good behavior, particularly during hot summer months. Since the program’s inception, the convenience-store corporation has given out more than
The Texas-based corporation expects officers to hand out 1 million coupons this year.
Bassi didn’t know how long T.O. police have participated in Operation Chill. But he said it’s been at least since 1999, when he gave them out as a patrol officer.
A T.O. police officer on one of six beats throughout the city might hand an Operation Chill coupon to a child using the crosswalk, picking up trash, playing basketball or engaging in some other positive activity.
Bassi said officers enjoy giving the coupons to children because it’s an opportunity to interact in a positive way.
When an officer stops a child, the child’s initial reaction may be one of surprise and concern that they did something wrong. After all, children know police stop drivers for traffic violations and arrest suspects.
The officer likes seeing the look of relief and the smile on the children’s faces after he commends them for their good behavior and gives them an Operation Chill coupon, he said.
“It’s nice to try to erase that concept in their mind, if we can,” Bassi said of the image of police some children have. “Everyone loves the firemen, but the cops, it’s always, ‘Why are you talking to me?’
“It helps our morale—that it’s not always a negative contact.”