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Good drivers given HJC coupons

December 26, 1997

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

Kristi Davis was pulled over by Washington County Sheriff's Deputies last year even though she had not done anything wrong.

Instead of writing her a ticket, however, the deputy gave her a gift certificate for Hagerstown Junior College and congratulated her for extra-good driving.

"I was really nervous when I was pulled over. When the officer explained that he was rewarding me for being a good driver, I couldn't believe it. It was great to have a police officer say I was doing something good," she said in a news release from the college.

Davis was one of nearly 100 drivers who received the goodwill tickets last year, the first time the sheriff's department and HJC teamed up to promote safe holiday driving.

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Cpl. Douglas White said the department began distributing 100 $25 coupons to deputies on Wednesday.

"If we see extra effort. We would have to see good driving, good habits," he said.

Examples of driving habits that could net a coupon include motorists who are wearing seat belts, drivers who let another driver onto the road or some other act of courtesy.

White said deputies enjoy being able to recognize positive behavior rather than cracking down on unlawful acts.

Patti Churchey, a spokeswoman for HJC, said the program will run through Jan. 5.

"It went really well last year. Especially, the sheriff's deputies seem to enjoy it," she said.

Churchey said the program advertises the school - which offers classes to age groups ranging from toddler to senior citizen - and promotes safe driving.

"In the holiday season, everyone's so rushed. That's the time where there's lots of drunk driving accidents," she said.

Churchey said good motorists' fears quickly turn to joy when a deputy hands them a coupon.

"It does make people nervous. Within a matter of seconds, they are relieved and rewarded," she said.

Churchey said the college plans to sponsor the program again next year and may ask area businesses to offer prizes as well.

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