Police dole out Christmas cash, not tickets, to surprised drivers

Enoch City Police Chief Jackson Ames hands out $100 to a driver who he pulled over for an infraction only moments before, Enoch, Utah, Dec. 23, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Enoch City Police Department, St. George News

ENOCH – Six unsuspecting motorists got the surprise of the season Tuesday morning when Enoch police officers pulled them over for an infraction, but gave them money instead to help with their holiday.

Whether it was for speeding, failure to use a turn signal, or blowing a stop sign, each of the drivers pulled over by the Enoch officers were subject to a legitimate traffic stop, Enoch Police Sgt. Mike Berg said.

“None of these were huge violations,” he said, “but they actually were legitimate traffic stops.”

(report continues below)

Ed. note: The camera’s date and time stamp shown in parts of the YouTube video is a glitch, Berg said; all of the footage reflects events on Tuesday.

It all began six months ago when the Enoch Police Department received a sizable donation of cash to do something similar to this, Berg said. They chose to set the money aside for a later date, unsure then of exactly what they were going to do with it, he said. 

“Then we had another gentleman just walk in off of the street last Tuesday,” Berg said, “and he gave the Police Department a $100 bill and he said, ‘I just want you guys to use this for someone in your community …. So, we decided that now was a good time – people can always use a little extra cash before Christmas and it’s not very often that we get to serve our community in that capacity.”

This was the first time in his 10-year career in law enforcement, Berg said, that he has ever gotten to do something of this nature. It was a memory that will last him the rest of his life, he said. All five of Enoch’s police officers participated in what Berg called a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Ninety-nine percent of our job is stressful, it’s full of emotion, and it’s difficult,” he said. “This 1 percent today – this two hours that we spent serving the community, or serving the citizens – can completely refresh me for the next year.”

In all, $600 was given away Tuesday morning in $100 increments. Facebook posts began to pop up on group pages like Cedar City Rant and Rave and Cedar City Blog shop where the wife of one recipient, Alicia Holland, shared her gratitude with the surrounding community.

A big thank you to the police that ‘pulled over’ my husband on Minersville Hwy. He has been having a really bad night and morning, and the ‘gift’ you gave us will definitely make it a special Christmas.

In another post on her personal page, Holland said she had a bill that could be paid with those funds, and that they were excited to be able to put more money towards making their Christmas holiday special without the weight of that bill hanging over their heads.

It was an emotional experience for many of the drivers they pulled over, Berg said. Some reacted in utter disbelief, others burst into tears of relief and joy, but all of them were caught candidly on camera by the Enoch City Police who filmed the whole thing and created a video that they posted to their Facebook page. As of 9 a.m., Christmas Eve, the video that posted only 12 hours previously had been shared 81 times.

As police officers it is their duty to protect the community, Berg said, but in a time where the nation has grown “so anti-law enforcement,” just going to work every day can sometimes be a scary prospect. It is difficult to let their guard down when approaching any vehicle on a traffic stop, he said, because officers rarely know what to expect when they make initial contact. This experience however, gave Enoch police a chance to do just a little bit more – connect with their community members.

“Even on these stops, there is still caution until they get the feel of things,” he said. “And then, from then on, it’s almost like we’re a puddle – I mean, we have emotions too, whether people believe it, or not.”

“Three of us were all sitting in the car after one of them wiping tears away from our eyes,” Berg said,”and they were tears of joy, because we got to help someone else in their lives in a way that we may never get to do again.”

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Carin Miller

Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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18 Comments

  • rastasamoa December 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

    As much as people fear the police now days it’s cops like this that show their compassion and caring nature, and not that macho tough guy Billy badass persona most of them do around here. Like st George even has a clue what real crime is.

  • Joe Smith December 24, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    So they’re basically rewarding bad driving? Seems idiotic, considering so. utah is a place where we desperately need better traffic policing…

    • Steve December 24, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Yes, a pretty stupid idea. A person who could have cost me my life is given money because of his or her dangerous driving?? The Enoch Police Department needs to think again and come up with a better way to truly help the community than helping irresponsible citizens to buy more material goods for themselves. Police departments all over the country have found better ways to spread goodwill and to help people in need. Just do a little googling to come up with better ideas.

  • Retired Trooper December 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    You complain about how hot it is,
    He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in July and still runs around chasing crack heads.

    You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong,
    He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.

    • pigknuckle December 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      LOL! Definitely not what a “Trooper” does!

    • T December 24, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Doesn’t he get paid to do those things? I’m willing to bet he wouldn’t do it for free.

  • Paul December 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Well said retired trooper

  • sagemoon December 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Awesome!

  • Innocent Bystander December 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Just Google “police hand out money”, In one state they had a slightly better Idea of pulling over badly beaten up cars who hadn’t even made a traffic violation because they thought they needed the money more. But I still agree most don’t enjoy the anxiety that comes with being pulled over, and there are far better ways to give back to their community’s. Next year show up at a children’s hospital with gifts or better yet drive a down on their luck retiree or veteran out and buy them grocery’s.

  • d December 24, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Wow I think that is just amazing and the kindness of these police officers!!! Everyone makes mistakes, I think a warning and a gift is a fabulous idea! Especially during this special holiday season.

  • mistareid December 24, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Really People? It says right in the article MINOR violations. Infractions are not serious traffic violations. You hate the police because they “abuse their power” but they do something nice for the community and that’s a problem too?! Lighten up guys!

  • Evil twins mommy December 25, 2014 at 2:26 am

    This is a wonderful and heart warming gesture from the police department the same people that protect you and your family while you sleep at night. The same people that put they’re lives only the line to protect the public.. You whiners go to you pathetic little mean nothing jobs and all you do complain about everything. and then go home and do nothing. My deepest respect to the men and women that you do.. God. Bless you all..Merry Christmas and joyous new year to them and their families

  • Evil twins mommy December 25, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Of the Enoch Police Department

  • Nice December 25, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Wow that was AWESOME! there’s still a lot of great people in the world! Thank you for this awesome video! Enoch police you rock! Merry Christmas

  • Paul Ford December 25, 2014 at 10:27 am

    This was amazing! Loved every second of this Great Job Cedar City News. LOVED THIS!

  • ladybugavenger December 25, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Oh my, they gave cash to people with small infractions, its not like any life was in danger and they got rewarded for it. Its not like they gave money to a person thats negligence killed a child in a hot car.

  • that guy December 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Jackson, Mike and the rest of the guys you are all great Officers thank you…And you negative commenting people stop by Enoch Police Department with your id so they know not to go out of their way to do their job even when someone is kicking your but or stealing your worthless crap. Maybe the police can make a do not respond list and you figure it out on your own.

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