Ranson Police, speeders team up to spread Christmas cheer

December 22, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

RANSON, W.Va. - Here's the deal.

You're driving through the City of Ranson, maybe all caught up in the holiday rush, and you get a speeding ticket.

No problem.

If you donate a toy to the city police department's annual Christmas toy program, your ticket disappears and some child has a merry Christmas.

The Ranson Police Department held its third annual Slow Down for the Holidays event this year and helped make Christmas happy for 25 families, Ranson Police Chief Bill Roper said.


The campaign - suggested initially by Todd Lutman Sr., a member of the Ranson Police Department - was held this year between Nov. 18 and Dec. 12, Roper said.

Motorists pulled over for speeding in town were told that their ticket would be dismissed if they brought a new toy to the police department and showed a receipt as proof of purchase.

The gifts had to be at least $35 in value and it was up to the officer issuing the ticket whether to extend the offer to the motorist, Roper said.

Although Roper said he was not sure how many tickets were turned into gifts this year, about 120 toys were turned in at the police department on 13th Avenue.

With help from the local school system, the police department identified needy children in the area to receive the gifts, Roper said.

In the past, officers delivered the toys to children, but this year parents of the children were invited to come to the department this week to pick out gifts, Roper said.

The police department gave about four gifts to each child, and the toys included bicycles, remote-controlled vehicles, dolls, make-up kits and footballs.

"The last few years have been really successful," Roper said. As in the past, the Ranson City Council gave approval this year to forgo speeding ticket revenue during the program in favor of spreading some Christmas cheer, Roper said.

Speeding tickets can carry a fine of up to $200, police said.

"That's a lot for them to do," Roper said of the City Council.

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