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Grant County Sheriff's Office spreads holiday cheer by giving gift cards instead of traffic tickets

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Posted at 8:37 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 14:00:45-05

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky. — Northern Kentucky law enforcement officials are working extra hard this time of year to keep any "Grinchiness" out of their respective "Whovilles."

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office is pushing to put the "ho, ho, ho" back into the holiday season.

Before Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Conrad hits the road these days, he arms himself with kindness – in the form of gift cards.

“It’s part of the Sheriff's Santa Project,” Conrad said.

It’s an idea that was brought to the office three years ago by their chaplain.

“I really think projects like this give us a glass-half-full attitude, rather than a glass-half-empty,” Grant County Sheriff’s Office Chaplain Rec. Tim Polley said. “Don’t we all need some joy in our lives?”

The answer, for Grant County’s deputies, is "yes."

“We make a legit traffic stop,” Conrad said. “In lieu of writing a citation, we hand out a gift card to our local businesses.”

Several drivers who got a Sheriff's Santa surprise were both grateful and thankful – a nice reminder to use a turn signal.

The project does more than just promote good driving – it also drives business to local shops and restaurants who could use a customer boost during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Typically, we deal with the more negative aspects of humanity, so when we can do anything that's positive, it's a blessing to us,” Conrad said. “We swore an oath to the Constitution. I got into this job 15 years ago 'cause I wanted to help people.”

Now he’s helping people by helping to give back to the community.

“Everybody thinks they're out to get us, but they're here to help us,” said driver Justin Ost, who got a gift card to a local barbecue restaurant.

Polley sought out local businesses to donate the gift cards, or people to donate money to be exchanged into cards. He said St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Williamstown gave $500 to the project.

“It is just that little nudge that some people need to say there is still good in this world,” he said.

The Sheriff's Santa Project runs through Christmas Eve.