donor gave $5,400 to launch the goodwill drive, said Monroe
County Sheriff J.C. Bittick, whose deputies are passing out the
bills to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations in a
semi-rural area about 60 miles south of Atlanta.
"He felt like this was a good way to make everybody feel good
about law enforcement and to give back to the community for
Christmas," Bittick said.
He instructed his officers to give the $100 bills to "people who
looked like they could use it," such as a woman with multiple
child car seats in her vehicle, suggesting a large family.
"Can I hug you?" asked one motorist, after being pulled over by
a deputy who admonished that she should be getting a ticket in a
stop recorded by Macon television station WMAZ.
The idea has generated such enthusiasm that another donor
pledged $5,000 to extend it into next week, the sheriff said.
The campaign follows a year in which some U.S. communities have
seen widespread protests over the use of force by law
enforcement after unarmed civilians were killed during police
But in Monroe County, the relationship between police and the
public has remained mostly good, Bittick said, noting that a
sheriff's deputy was killed last year in the line of duty.
"The community has been so good to us since that happened," he
said. "We felt like this program was a good way to give back to
the community and say, 'Merry Christmas.'"
(Editing by Letitia Stein and G Crosse)
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