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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Willie Frazer, 11, has a treat Thursday as FWPD officers Liza Thomas, left, and Sherronda Blocher announce a bike-safety partnership with Zesto.

FWPD, Zesto combine forces for bike safety

– Usually, if a police officer has to stop a child on a bike, it is to correct something they’ve done wrong.

But thanks to a new program, officers can now reward children for doing something right: Wearing a bike helmet.

The “I Got Caught” program distributed 400 Zesto coupons to Fort Wayne Police Department officers, allowing them to reward kids they see wearing helmets while riding a bike. Each coupon is worth one free small ice cream cone at any of the four Zesto locations.

Mayor Tom Henry said the idea came in an email from resident Louise S. Danielson, who had seen a similar program in another city.

“I realized this was a pretty darn good program to introduce to our city,” Henry said, surrounded by a dozen kids and several Zesto employees Thursday. “We’re trying to encourage safe riding on the streets and trails of our community.”

Police Chief Rusty York said the program is about much more than wearing bike helmets.

“It’s not only our way of encouraging our young people to ride safely, but it also provides a tremendous opportunity for our officers to interact with young people in a positive way.”

Zesto’s Chris Connor said the business was glad to have found a way to partner with the community.

“I couldn’t be any happier to be involved in this,” he said.