By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Alice Sylvester was driving up South Thomas Street toward West Main Street when a motorcycle police officer signaled for her to pull into the turn lane. She looked down at her speedometer with confusion.
“I thought I was speeding, to be honest,” she said.
Tupelo Police Officer Alan Chavers told her she was driving 30 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone. He handed her a $10 gift card and thanked her.
Next up was a truck cruising by with a driver wearing a seat belt. Officer Philip Sanderson pulled out and turned on his blue lights. The driver continued on for a few seconds before realizing he was the one being pulled over.
“I stopped Mr. Smith for traveling the speed limit and he also had his seat belt on,” Sanderson said. “I approached him and told him what he had done and that I had observed his safe driving habits and wanted to thank him.”
Sanderson gave the driver a gift card and the confusion went away. “He was surprised at first but very appreciative – very nice guy.”
In total, 20 unsuspecting motorists who were careful to fully stop at stop signs or drive the speed limit in the South Thomas Street area were pulled over by Tupelo police Tuesday morning.
“The police – we’re always watching for people that are breaking the law, watching for people that are doing something wrong,” Chavers said. “This is a good thing to do, to say, ‘Hey, we’re not always here to see the bad, we like to see the good in people also.’”
Rich Potter of Rich Potter State Farm sponsored the gift cards.
“We’re just trying to make people aware of driver’s safety,” Potter said. “We’re going to try and put a little fun into it. Obviously, accidents are still the number one cause of death among teenagers, so we’re partnering with the police to make people more aware.”
Tuesday afternoon, the officers set up a roadblock at Tupelo High School and gave a dollar bill to students who had their seat belts on as they pulled out of the parking lot.