Deputies are busier than ever writing 'good behavior' tickets

Jaycee Higdon, 11, receives a good behavior ticket at Kentucky Oaks Mall as part of a McCracken County Sheriff's Department program. The initiative serves as a way to help youth develop positive interactions with law enforcement.


Special Deputy Bobby Cook spent Saturday morning handing out tickets.

But he didn't read anyone their rights or tell them to call an attorney or get their brake lights checked.

Cook was handing out tickets to children for their good behavior.

Cook and some graduates of the McCracken County Sheriff's Department's first citizen academy set up shop at Kentucky Oaks Mall as part of Sheriff Matt Carter's "Tickets for Good Behavior" program.

The initiative, now in its second year, serves as a way to help youth develop positive interactions with law enforcement and give them a chance to win a bicycle at summer's end.

Just before noon, Cook estimated up to 60 children had come by the table at the mall's food court.

"I love it. Kids are our future," Cook said.

He said the children who stopped by seemed to enjoy the interaction, but they didn't pay much attention to the possible prize.

"They kind of look over the bicycle giveaway -- those little stickers are where it's at," Cook said, referencing the deputy star stickers volunteers were handing out.

Carter estimated that, by late last week, deputies had already given out more tickets than they wrote all of last summer.

This year's program will conclude Aug. 2 with an event at Noble Park, during which the winners of 10 bicycles -- for five boys and five girls -- will be announced.

Carter said the program is less about the prizes and more about creating "intentional opportunities to interact" with area youth.

"There can be such a stigma put on our youth and, from our youth's perspective, put on law enforcement," Carter said.

"To show them some attention, I think, can go a long way."

Deputies have spent the summer months mingling with children and talking to them about staying well-behaved while school is out.

Carter said during last year's inaugural program deputies handed out about 300 tickets, and he expects this year's total entries to exceed 500.

In addition to the giveaway, the August event will feature food, ice cream and games, and give children more opportunities to socialize with law enforcement.

"It's just our own little way to try to continue to fertilize that mindset of doing the right thing and being good," Carter said.

He also thanked community partners who have helped the program succeed, including Walmart, Health Works Paducah, Paducah Bank, Kiwanis, Bob's Drive-In and the city of Paducah.

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