At tonight's Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting, Police Chief Ken Lavallee laid out an idea that started in Richmond, British Columbia that will come to Lowell soon -- positive ticketing.
Here's how it works: Lots of young people flood the downtown area in the post-school day/pre-dinner hours. Their interactions with the police usually come in the form of "don'ts" and "shouldn'ts" that might me met with the threat of a ticket and resultant fine. However, positive ticketing aims to change that -- by offering police officers downtown with the chance to reward good behavior.
Using money from local donors and large organizations, police will be *armed* with gift certificates to local eating establishments and entertainment venues that they can give to teenagers who do the right thing -- those who actually wait for the appropriate lights to change before crossing the street, those who help to prevent minor quality-of-life problems (littering and vandalism), and those who generally exhibit good-citizen type of behavior in public.
Sounds like a pretty neat idea, and it's good to see an idea that succeeded somewhere else being adopted locally.
Also speaking at the meeting tonight were Suzzanne Cromwell, who promoted the 2nd Annual Film Festival (first weekend in April), which will focus on "Food, Fair Trade, and the Global Economy," and City Manager Bernie Lynch, who gave a detailed analysis of the city's budget for this and the next fiscal year.