Arkansas Game and Fish
Wildlife officers have a sweet treat in store for Arkansas youth they find enjoying the outdoors in a healthy way.
Thanks to a continued partnership with Sonic restaurants, members of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission enforcement division carry a special book full of ice cream “citations” they can hand out to youths during their daily activities.
These tickets can be turned in at any participating Sonic restaurant to claim a free ice cream cone for the child.
Col. Greg Rae, enforcement division chief, said the program has been in place since 2012. The effort has helped people recognize that wildlife officers are more than just men and women who write tickets for hunting and fishing violations.
“In Arkansas, our officers have the same police authority as a state trooper. We are called to assist in many ways that branch out from what would be considered typical wildlife law enforcement,” Rae said. “They’re part of the communities where they live.”
He said the program’s roots are in boating safety efforts.
“The promotion began as a way to encourage people to wear their life jackets, but we’ve seen so much good come from it through the years that we expanded it to include any youth we see engaging in healthy outdoors activities and being a positive role model,” Rae said.
Officers even had the opportunity to pass out some of these vouchers when they were asked to assist state and local police departments in security details during recent protests.
“We had more than 50 of our officers assist last week in everything from security details at the state capitol to responding to calls of gunshots near one of the protests that were unrelated to the gatherings,” Rae said. “While they were working, our officers took the time to reach out to some of the young people in the crowd.”