Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Roman Krajewski hit the streets of La Cañada Tuesday afternoon on a mission not just to bust bad guys but to find kids on their best behavior who might be rewarded with a summertime treat.
Armed with books of coupons offering bearers one free Slurpee from 7-Eleven, Krajewski was one of several law enforcement officers participating in this year’s 24th annual Operation Chill, an outreach program that aims to foster good relations between police and the communities they serve.
The idea is for officers on patrol to look out for kids doing good deeds or exhibiting good behavior, like wearing bike helmets, using crosswalks and otherwise staying safe, and “ticket” them with a coupon. This year an estimated 1,100 agencies are expected to issue nearly 1.5 million coupons, according to a release from 7-Eleven.
“It’s good for us for people to have a positive experience with law enforcement,” said Krajewski, who lives in Montrose. “If the only thing that ever comes out of it is in the future they feel they can ask an officer for help, then that’s something.”
On Tuesday, in between calls for service, Krajewski patrolled La Cañada, Montrose and La Crescenta in search of good behavior, occasionally startling kids by calling out to them through his vehicle’s loudspeaker.
“Do you guys want free Slurpees?” he asked band camp kids at La Cañada High School, who, clearly confused by the unorthodox offer, nervously backed away.
“Maybe they thought it was a trap,” Krajewski surmised, pulling away to find more kids.
His luck picked up near the city’s Town Center, where La Cañada High School rising junior Leila Thompsky thankfully accepted a coupon. Young children playing at Olberz Park were eager to accept their rewards.
“You guys know how to get a 9-year-old to respond better than anyone,” one of their mothers called out to Krajewski from her seat on the lawn. “Thank you so much.”
Glendale mom Tracey Gordon — eating outside La Cañada’s Wing Stop with sons Nico, 6, 3-year-old Cash and Jack, 6, following a doctor’s appointment — was grateful for the offer of free Slurpees. Nico said his favorite flavor was “Red Bang,” while Cash said he’d probably get blue raspberry and Jack indicated a preference for cherry.
“Anything that sets an early positive relationship with children is good,” Krajewski said.
On a hillside near Memorial Park, 12-year-old Wyatt De Brito played alongside younger brother, Shane, and the boys’ nanny. Though they were surprised to see Krajewski scale the hill to reach them, they were grateful for the promise of a frosty reprieve from the midafternoon heat.
“Let’s go get Slurpees!” Shane said, waving his coupon.
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