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Tempe police program to promote pedestrian safety sparks concerns

KNXV Tempe Police Positive Ticketing
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 17:48:06-04

TEMPE, AZ — With the pedestrian population in Tempe about to skyrocket as college students return, police on Monday announced an unconventional campaign called "positive ticketing."

Detective Greg Bacon with the Tempe Police Department says the campaign is "meant to educate and hopefully save lives."

Police describe the program as simple: if an officer observes you obeying traffic laws whether you are walking, on a bike, or on a scooter, they'll engage with you in a positive manner. Police say if you choose to talk with them, they'll offer you a coupon for a free drink redeemable at local Circle K locations as a reward for following the law.

"I think it's awesome, I think it'll make people less afraid of police officers too if they're handing out positive things," said Tempe resident Tracy Ditter.

However the announcement by police on Twitter sparked a large reaction, with more than 150 comments and not everyone was thrilled. Some users chimed in with concerns such as, "If I like my 4th amendment can I keep it?" and "I don't even live in Tempe and it's making me nervous."

The Tempe Police Department said its program is not meant to make people uncomfortable.

"We don't want to violate and we are not going to violate anybody's 4th amendment rights," Bacon said. "So that's the big message, we are not pulling people over, we are not stopping bicyclists riding down the street, we are not pulling subjects off the sidewalk to talk to them."

Tempe police say they'll conduct this campaign throughout the year, also tweeting the following statement to clarify the program Monday afternoon.