Kids all over town have been stopped by the Lowell Police Department in recent weeks, but they haven’t been doing anything wrong. Instead, officers have been handing out McDonald’s coupons to kids caught being safe. That’s one initiative launched by the department in May as they gear up for the summer season.
More on that is below, but first, here’s a snapshot of department activity for May 2021:
- 71 calls for assistance to citizens
- 18 total arrests
- 12 calls for assistance to other agencies
- 10 ordinance violations
- 9 traffic accidents
- 7 verbal assaults
- 4 disorderly conduct
- 3 dog/animal complaints
- 2 larcenies/retail fraud
- 1 malicious destruction of property
- 1 assault
Plus, in May, the department made 175 traffic stops and issued 94 citations as a result.
Kids Caught Being Safe
If you follow the Lowell Police Department Facebook page, you’ve probably seen the photos of officers handing out coupons to kids they encounter on the streets. The coupons can be used at McDonald’s for either ice cream or apple slices and are provided as part of a program sponsored by Ascension St. Mary’s Field Neuroscience Institute.
The institute provided the department with 150 coupons to hand out to kids caught in the act of being safe. That could include wearing helmets while riding their bikes, crossing the street properly or drinking water to stay hydrated on a hot day.
Officers aren’t limited in when they can hand out coupons. They have broad discretion to reward kids whenever they see them doing something that could be considered acting safely.
The program will run until November or whenever the department runs out of coupons.
Police Patrols on the Riverwalk
Lowell police officers have been out on Friday and Saturday nights patrolling the social district since its inception. With the start of the Showboat Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series this week, police will add Thursday nights to their patrol schedule.
Overall, the police report few problems and most people following social district rules. They did hear from one resident of RiverView Flats condominiums who reported people drinking at the picnic tables near the development. This area of the Riverwalk is outside the social district, and after officers made contact with the people in question, that seemed to resolve the matter.
Officers will also be on-hand for summertime events on the Riverwalk, and the first one was the Lowell Pride festival held the first week of June.
The event, which drew a significant crowd, also attracted about five protestors. Two attempted to hand out pamphlets to those walking on the Riverwalk while others held signs. Officers observed some people taking pamphlets from the protesters and then crumbling them up and throwing them back at the person handing them out. Other than that, interactions between protesters and attendees seemed limited to some verbal sparring.
Although the Lowell Police Department knows some people would have liked officers to escort the protestors off the premises, they say there was no legal basis for doing so since the Riverwalk is a public space. Instead, attendees held up flags to block the protestors’ signs until they eventually left of their own volition.
Other Department News
The Lowell Police Department received new 800 MHz radios from Kent County for their vehicles to go along with the hand-held radios they previously received. The department also upgraded their vehicle laptops, and Sgt. Scot Van Solkema was able to save the city money by installing them.
Ordinance violations were up in May, and that is largely because of overgrown grass. Lowell police officers also wrote an above average number of traffic tickets. That may have been partly because of directed patrols on Main Street to monitor traffic speeds in the historic downtown.
Reports of an attempted kidnapping near Rite Aid circulated on social media in May, but police say there is no evidence available to start an investigation. The alleged event wasn’t caught on camera, and they don’t have a specific vehicle or plate number to investigate. Officers say no similar incidences have been reported.
A search warrant was executed as part of an investigation of an armed robbery that occurred in town earlier this year. The findings of that search have pointed the department to a suspect in the case.
Finally, the department signed an agreement with N6 Towing and Recovery to provide wrecker service in the event drivers don’t have a preference for a towing company. The Lowell Police Department has a similar agreement with J&K Roadside Service, and there will be a two-week rotation between the two companies.