If you get pulled over while driving in Bellevue, Michigan this week, you might be in for a surprise: One traffic cop is handing out restaurant gift cards in lieu of tickets. The officer responsible for the generous attitude, Edward Michela, told Monroe News that it's "better to give than to receive."
When one driver was stopped earlier this week for rolling through a stop sign, she didn't get a pricey ticket or court date. She got a free meal at Applebee's.
Apparently, Michela was inspired by stories he'd heard of officers who handed out gift cards instead of tickets in Florida and in other parts of Michigan. He says he loves seeing the surprised look on guilty drivers' faces. "When they get stopped for an infraction they are going to think they are going to get a ticket," Michela told the paper. "But it's that old saying: 'It's better to give than receive.' I love to see the expression on people's faces."
It's worth noting that this isn't a department-wide initiative. Michela used his own money to buy gift cards at Subway and Applebee's.
The Bellevue Police Department has not commented on Michela's lax ticketing habit, but it has given them a good amount of positive publicity during a time when cops need it most. Alluding to recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City, Michela said he wanted to show the public that cops are not just around "to write tickets and take people to jail, and we will go into a burning house if we have to. We will risk our lives to save that life because we care."
Meanwhile, a dozen or so drivers in Michigan just got a free lunch.