FULTON — The Fulton Police Department was busy pulling people over on Saturday morning.
Officers weren’t plucking out scofflaws. Rather, they were issuing turkeys instead of tickets, all part of Operation Turkey Stop to reward mindful drivers.
Drivers, initially perplexed about what they’d done to warrant such a stop, soon took to social media to share their tales.
“We got stopped today by Fulton PD and got a turkey instead of a ticket for our safe speed and wearing our seatbelts,” wrote Jamie Storjohann, who was in the vehicle with Hope Warren. “PDs don’t get enough recognition for their great job and overall LOVE for their communities and willingness to serve and protect. Y’all are literally the BEST! What an AWESOME gesture.”
“Just about the sweetest and heartwarming thing ever. Thank you so much Fulton Police Department,” wrote Tiffany Shepherd.
“Thanks for the heart attack lol (just kidding) but seriously thanks for the turkey Fulton PD and Nick Neblung,” Ashely Hamilton wrote.
The department had 40 turkeys to give away. Each came with a signed letter. “On behalf of all of us we wanted to give you this ticket, sorry we meant turkey,” it read, in part.
“It’s not every day you get to have a super fun visit from the police ... but here I am, living the dream!” wrote Cathy Eversoll. “Shoutout to Adam Wherry and Benjamin Eshelman of the Fulton Police Department for surprising the kids and I with a turkey this morning! What a fun way to build relationships within the community ... Thank you to the entire Fulton Police Department for making my morning wonderful, we appreciate you!”
This was the first time the department delivered turkeys as Thanksgiving approaches, but it won’t be the last.
“This was a great opportunity to connect with those in our community through a different approach. Too often, getting pulled over means tickets or warnings for wrongdoings,” said Chief of Police Nick Neblung. “Many more drivers and occupants follow the laws set forth by the state of Illinois, and this behavior gets overlooked. While we won’t be handing out turkeys every day for good driving behavior, it’s our hope moving forward and for years ahead that we can continue to bring some smiles to families during this time of year. We’re already looking forward to next year and hope to continue making a difference in our great community.”
The Fulton police had some help. Neblung also credited
Dispatchers in Whiteside County maintained radio traffic and logs during the operation, Fulton Meat Market supplied the birds at cost.
Fulton Police Department can be followed on social media for updates and other tales of community-oriented policing.