The New Milford Police Department has partnered with local business, Hobby Hangout, to catch the town's kids doing something right, and in turn, rewarding them for their positive actions.

It's called "Operation Good Citizen," and according to a press release from the New Milford Police Department, the program encourages officers to make positive contacts and to acknowledge the many good things that the town's young citizens do on a daily basis. 

Often times, our local police officers are perceived as only dealing with the youth of the community during negative situations, and have to handle things in a more formal way — not in New Milford. Now, this new program allows them the freedom to be more involved with the youth in a much more personal way.

John Gallagher is the owner of Hobby Hangout, and he's come up with a terrific idea. He's given the department special passes to be handed out by officers. These passes, called Good Citizen passes, allow kids to use a specially designed New Milford Police radio controlled truck (pictured above) on their racetrack, which is located at 48 Anderson Ave.

Meanwhile, New Milford Police Chief Spencer Cerruto would like to see the program expanded to include other local businesses who would also donate passes and or gift cards that could be used by the officers.

New Milford Police Officers will give out the passes for all sorts of good behavior. Things like wearing a helmet while biking or skateboarding, using the crosswalks, speaking respectfully, helping others in need, doing well in school and various forms of community service.

Chief Cerruto is confident that this type of program will promote a positive response between the youth of the community and the officers in the department.

"The passes are a gateway to building trust, respect and relationships." Says Chief Cerruto. "What's most important is that this is a positive interaction, and when the youth sees the officer the next time, it will start off on a positive note. If you reward good behavior, your return on investment will be more good behavior. Mr. Gallagher and the Hobby Hangout are the first company to come forward to begin this program and I look forward to seeing the program grow throughout the community."

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