ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – When police officers prepare for their shifts, they usually don’t load up the patrol car with frozen turkeys, but Monday was different. Along with all the tools of law enforcement, Escanaba Department of Public Safety officers, added a carload of turkeys to their arsenal. Not for a big lunch, but to hand out to motorists in place of a citation. ‘Turkeys, Not Tickets’ began several years ago and according to Lt. Eric LaFave, has become a holiday tradition for Escanaba Department of Public Safety.

“It’s really nice to go out the week of Thanksgiving and be able to give the community a gift,” says LaFave. “A lot of people are appreciative and very thankful.”

This year, officers handed out 18 turkeys to some very relieved lead-foots. Most who expected a ticket were grateful for the turkey, but probably more thankful for avoiding a trip to traffic court.

“I think it sheds a good light on law enforcement,” said LaFave. “And when the flashers come on and they’re getting pulled over, I think most people are probably expecting a bad start to their day where instead of a ticket today, we give them a gift and they get a turkey for Thanksgiving.”

The turkeys, all around 8 pounds, were donated by Elmer’s County Market in Escanaba. According to Lt. LaFave, handing out turkeys in place of citations, like any act of kindness, provides joy to those who give as well as those who receive.