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Green Bay-Area Police Hand Out $100 Gift Cards To Residents

Local Business Donates Funds To Let Officers Make Positive Connections, Help Those In Need

Patty Murray/WPR

Police in Green Bay and Ashwaubenon handed out $30,000 in pre-paid debit cards Friday.

The $100 cards were given out either randomly or to people who officers knew could use a little financial help.

Officer Mike Francois said he recently found a lost boy who lives near downtown Green Bay and helped him find his way home. Francois returned with one of the cards for the boy’s mother to help pay for school supplies or other necessities.

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The money was donated by a local car dealership, Broadway Automotive. Owners said it’s a way to give back to the community and to give police a chance to build positive relationships with citizens. Officers were given discretion to decide who got a card.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School professor Cecelia Klingele said efforts like this do allow for positive interaction that contrast with the high-stress situations like robberies, fights, or lost pets, that cops are usually called for.

“Frequently in responding to those kind of calls for service, they encounter really deep needs,” she said. “It sounds like this gives them one more positive tool to use when some of those needs include poverty.”

Klingele said such programs should be used strategically in order to get the most bang for the buck.