Cops pull cars over, give drivers presents

If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, might we suggest you speed through the streets of Lowell, Michigan (east of Grand Rapids) — maybe have a car with illegally tinted windows to increase your odds of being stopped by the cops.

“I was a little nervous as to how this was going to go. ‘Cause ordinarily people don’t like getting pulled over by the police,” Lowell officer Scot VanSolkema said about the TV-inspired promotion to give Christmas presents to people.

No one who was pulled over actually got a ticket.

  • Jack

    Wonderful video to start the day. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jones

    Dear White People of MPR, What the? Sorry, but the cop could give me $100 and I’d still be pissed that he caused me the adrenaline heart attack. Being pulled over is a serious confrontation, for both parties. This is not the way to do this.

    • I just won a bet. So, umm, thanks.

      • Dang, I just needed a mention of Ferguson to fill out my bingo card…

  • KTN

    While this might seem like a nice story, it is wrong on many levels. Having the police stop you for good behavior is an invitation to fish for infractions. People react differently to being pulled over, and nervousness is certainly one of them. A nervous driver is a suspicious driver, and that is never a good combination. What if a driver had weed in his car, while illegal, would have otherwise not been detected. Now the police come to the window and smell the presence of marijuana, and are now obligated to arrest the driver. Remember, the police need probable cause, and pulling someone over without it is unlawful. If the good behavior stop had not happened the illegal search would not have happened. It violates the 4thA, and causes undue stress to drivers. This sort of thing ought to be outlawed.

    • Man, we sure work hard at finding the bad side of everything.

      • KTN

        Would you like the police to pull you over for no apparent reason? Didn’t think so. Just like I don’t want the police calling my house to tell me how happy they are that we are keeping quiet, or stopping by and knocking on the door to tell me how nice my lawn looks, I don’t want to be stopped for obeying the law while I’m driving. It’s overreach by the government plain and simple. Sure it has a nice warm fuzzy feeling, but this is the wrong way to police.

        • Sometimes a decent thing is simply a decent thing.

          I realize the sun is below the equator but, honestly, Minnesota’s ability to be continually outraged is mystifying.

          this is what talk radio has done to us.

          • KTN

            Not outraged, just tired of the police overreach. If they wanted to have a touchy feelly moment they should have just invited folks to stop by the precinct for coffee and donuts (of which they are in good supply), and give out presents, rather than cause undue stress to law abiding citizens. That would be a decent thing.

          • John O.

            One set of pols would scream about the cost of the coffee and donuts and the remainder would be complaining that the cops aren’t out on the street patrolling.

        • >>Would you like the police to pull you over for no apparent reason?<<

          Each driver was pulled over for a minor violation, not "for no apparent reason."

      • Anna

        I got pulled over a few years ago after leaving my hotel on my way back from New Mexico to Minnesota for the holidays. The officer had a warrant out for a car fitting the description of my Toyota.

        I wasn’t speeding. I hadn’t run a red light. My taillights were good. I was baffled by the flashing lights in my rear view mirror.

        I guess the officer realized his mistake when he saw the LSU magnet on the back of my car and the Coast Guard emblems emblazoned on my hatch window and my bumper.

        He apologized for the intrusion and I wished him a Merry Christmas and went on my way.

        No harm. No foul.

        Must be the winter doldrums setting in. I’m with you, man. Let’s focus on the positive.

        Kudos to the Lowell, Michigan Police Department! With all the negative publicity the police have been getting lately, it’s nice to see a POSITIVE story about men and women who put their lives on the line each and every day.

  • BReynolds33

    I’ll try to be the voice of reason here. I lean libertarian in my political views. Being stopped by the police is a serious thing, absolutely. However, it seems (from the video) that all of the drivers were stopped for actual traffic infractions. Illegal tint, etc.

    Now, the officers made a choice, after approaching and talking with the drivers, to change the interaction from a traffic stop, with possible citation, to conduct a little holiday magic.

    The key here is that the people were actually stopped for a reason. Then, the officer made the call on whether or not the driver was going to go down the path of citation or getting a present.

    I’m in. 100% in. Good on ya, coppers.

    • Who let the voice of reason in here??

      • BReynolds33

        Sorry. I’ll leave. 😉

  • jon

    Normalizing interactions with police is a fantastic plan, particularly given the recent news stories about police shooting people, strangling people, collecting back taxes with tanks, slinging mud at mayors and NFL players, and on and on the list goes.

    I don’t know my local cops all that well (two or three interactions with them over a period of years… once when my wife needed assistance getting her car back on the road, once when they stopped to check on me when I blew a bicycle tire, and maybe one or two other odd events where they were directing traffic or some such.)

    I do however know that I like my local suburban cops. They appear to do a good job, they have won awards for community policing, and they always seem to be willing to stop and offer assistance (see bicycle flat above). With their recent public safety Facebook pages, and the police reports in the local news paper, I’ve very little to complain about… It is unfortunate how isolated incidents being reported can reflect so badly on the police forces across the entire country…

    Kudos to these cops for doing something nice, and softening the image of the police with the local populace… perhaps some more of these stories can help clarify that there are a lot of good cops out there, and that we shouldn’t have panic attacks because of interacting with the police.

  • andy

    As a speed limit dwelling, complete stop at stop signs stopper, thus far accident free after 24 years of driving driver (knock-on-wood), I wouldn’t mind in the least if a police man or woman pulled me over to hand me a gift. In fact, a “good job on following the rules of the road” would more than suffice.

    • Kassie

      Your good job comes from your insurance company and not having to deal with deductibles.

      • This is the most Minnesota thread ever. Ever!

        • Dave

          Somebody just needs to say something about a school district now.



          • Or some complaining about the drivers who were driving legally but DIDN’T get gifts. Where’s the fairness?

          • You get a gift, and YOU get a gift…EVERYONE GETS A GIFT!!!

          • kevinfromminneapolis

            I’ll complain about window tinting laws, if that will help.

        • Kassie

          In states outside of Minnesota people think that if you don’t get in a car accident and drive the speed limit you should get a gift or good job from the police? I really doubt that.

          • jon

            well they are going to start to expect that breaking the law will get them a present from the police in Lowell, Michigan….

            I feel I should add something here about creating a culture of dependency. and maybe the every one gets a trophy attitude of millennials.

    • Dave

      You’ve just never been in the wrong place at the wrong time . . . 😉

  • Chris

    I’ve been pulled over twice. The first time (15 years ago) the cop was mainly concerned that I might be driving while tired. He was professional, but very friendly.

    The second time (4 years ago), the cop ostensibly pulled me over for a legitimate reason, but it was clearly “retaliation” of some kind, for me glancing at his parked car when I drove past it (?). He was a jerk throughout the encounter, barking and snapping. My heart was racing and I was shaken enough that I still vividly remember the entire encounter.

    Kudos for any efforts made to improve police/civilian relations.

  • Greg W

    Who are you people and how do you get so outraged? When I saw the number of comments yesterday, I thought it was just a bunch of “Wow, that’s really nice” and “DItto” replies. Little did I know we’d stumbled upon a hornet’s nest of doom by giving presents instead of tickets.