bc-100716-positive-tickets

An RCMP officer gives a 'positive ticket' to a boy who has wearing a helmet and elbow pads while skateboarding. ((CBC))

Getting a ticket from a police officer can be a positive experience under a program adopted by the North Vancouver RCMP detachment.

They're called "positive tickets," given to young people to reinforce the idea that obeying the law is a good thing.

"We're supporting [legal] behaviour," said Cpl. Peter Devries. "We're going to say, 'You know, it is cool,' and we're going to reward that and show how it's a great thing to do."

On Friday, an RCMP officer approached a boy who was skateboarding, but who at first appeared unsure of what he'd done to attract the attention of police.

"We were just in our police car," the officer told Reese Baxter, 8. "The first thing I noticed was the fact that you were wearing your elbow pads and protection. Good job, here you go."

He then gave Baxter a positive ticket, good for free admission to skating rinks, swimming pools, and climbing walls at North Vancouver recreation centres.

Peer pressure

Devries said the program aims to create wholesome peer pressure and to help generate a positive image of police officers.

"We don't want kids to be scared of us. We want them to know that we are a resource in the community, that we are here to provide them support and safety."

Some parents think the program makes good sense.

"I think it's a great idea," said Stephanie Olsen, a mother. "It reinforces what parents should be doing. And when it's reinforced by the community, it's even better."

The rewards the positive tickets provide don't work for all kids.

"I don't know," said skateboarder Joey Moore. "A lot of older kids are into different things."

North Vancouver RCMP expect to find a better reception among other young people. The detachment has printed 6,000 positive tickets to give away.

With files from the CBC's Maggie Zelaya