BRISTOL - A new initiative passed through City Hall this week that aims to spread positivity in the West End by building relationships between businesses, locals and police officers.
The initiative was introduced by City Councilor Jodi Zils Gagne, who adapted it from a town in New Hampshire and thought it would be effective in Bristol.
It aims to get businesses in the West End to donate a small gift card to the police officers who patrol that area, so they can give it to residents who they noticed doing something right or kind. This includes holding doors for others, using a leash while walking a dog and properly using a crosswalk, explained Gagne.
“The initiative is to reward the public for the good things they do. I focused on the west end because people walk around this area a lot,” said Gagne. “Any officer has the ability to pass the gift card to any member of the public.”
Gagne said it’s focused on the West End to help relationships grow.
“I call it a win, win, win. Businesses get business they normally wouldn’t; individuals can develop a relationship with officers and the police and do the same with their community,” said Gagne.
After Gagne announced the initiative on Facebook, two companies reached out to Gagne in hopes of participating in the initiative. She explained a local photographer offered a free photo and The Studio offered a gift card.
“I am hoping more businesses contact me and am putting together a list of businesses in the West End area to inform of the initiative,” said Gagne. “I have also been in contact with the president of the West End Association to help get the word out.”
Gagne explained that officers are allowed to distribute the gift cards at their own discretion, which led to them setting basic parameters to ensure there is no discrimination.
“There were a few people on Facebook that said we are now giving participation awards for obeying laws,” said Gagne. “But it’s about spreading and maintaining positivity.”