Orem police give out gifts instead of tickets
(KUTV) Some police officers in Utah are finding ways to give back.
The Orem Police Department is giving out gifts instead of tickets during this holiday week.
Tuesday evening, 2News rode along with Officer Brian Luangsawasdi as he loaded up presents into his squad car and headed out on patrol.
He quickly found someone to pull over.
"The reason I stopped you is you don't have your headlights on," he told the female driver.
Normally -- that could mean a citation. But not this time.
"I'm giving out cookies," Luangsawasdi said.
"Oh, thank you!" the driver said.
It's a simple act of kindness that Luangsawasdi said goes a long way.
"It kind of instills that good that people have kind of lost along the way for the police in general," he said.
When Luangsawasdi spotted a truck whose driver appeared to be texting and driving, he pulled it over. As he chatted with the man behind the wheel, he noticed a picture of a child.
That gave him an idea
"How old's your boy?" Luangsawasdi asked the driver.
"He's a year," the driver replied.
"Does he like stuffed animals?" Luangsawasdi asked as he pulled one out and presented it to the man.
"He does!" the driver exclaimed happily. "Oh my goodness, thank you so much."
Finally, down the road, Officer Luangsawasdi spotted a truck that ran a red light and was missing a brake light.
Luangsawasdi learned the driver was a little busy shopping -- but not just for his own kids. He was buying items for two needy children associated with his church.
Luangsawasdi pulled out the present he'd been saving for the right person -- a bicycle, gift-wrapped and ready to be placed underneath the tree.
That gesture earned the officer a hug from the driver, Jeremiah Bohnet.
"I definitely thought I was going to get a ticket," Bohnet said with a smile. "I wasn't expecting this. Definitely a surprise."
Orem police will be doing this all week. They said the presents come from donations from their own officers as well as from businesses in the community.