An police program to encourage good youth behaviour has spread across Greater Victoria thanks to an administrator at West Shore Parks and Recreation.
Under the positive ticketing program, police liaison officers in schools distribute free passes for recreation centres to students “caught” doing something good, such as picking up litter, riding with a bike helmet or helping others.
RCMP Cpl. Scott Hilderley approached West Shore parks and rec in March to adopt the program.
Recreation manager Cindy O’Regan ran with it.
“Scott came to us in March about the positive ticket program,” O’Regan said. “I said of course, but why not do it in all recreational facilities across Greater Victoria?”
She brought it before the intermunicipal recreation committee, which adopted the positive ticketing program without hesitation.
“It’s great to have a regional committee. It cuts the red tape,” she said. “They thought it was a fantastic idea.”
The program has been running for about a month. About 18 positive tickets have been used at WSPR. One teen that came in said an officer saw him pick up and deposit a bit of trash in a garbage bin. He got a free swim.
“It’s great that it may encourage youth to come in who might not use a recreation centre,” she said.
For O’Regan’s efforts, the RCMP presented her with a positive ticket of her own in the form of an appreciation award.
Cpl. Scott Hilderley with the RCMP drugs and organized crime awareness service said high and middle school liaison officers in departments across the region are happy to adopt the positive ticket program.
School is wrapping up for the summer, but the program is expected to continue in September. Hilderley said the program is about giving youth positive reinforcement about making good choices.
It also gives police a chance to interact with youth in ways other than dealing with mischief.
“Police officers love the opportunity to foster better relations with the community and this is a good way to do it,” Hilderley said. “No police officer enjoys giving punitive tickets.”