Buckle Up Seat Belt, Win A Prize

March 31, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

Cheree Hippler thought she was getting a ticket yesterday when Sgt. Beverly McGough ordered her to pull her car into a small parking lot on the campus of Anne Arundel Community College.

But Sergeant McGough, a campus security officer, didn't stop Ms. Hippler for speeding or breaking any other laws. She stopped her with a reward for wearing her seat belt -- a $10 gift certificate for gas at a nearby Shell station.

"I thought I was getting pulled over for speeding," said Ms. Hippler, a 19-year-old freshman. "This is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me.

Ms. Hippler was one of 41 people stopped by campus security officers as they drove by the Student Services Center. Thirty-five of them were wearing seat belts and received a gift certificate from one of about a dozen area businesses. Those who were not wearing belts got warnings but no ticket.

The gifts are part of a project run by campus security, county police and the Student Association to encourage students to use their seat belts, Sergeant McGough said. Campus security officers have been stopping cars since Tuesday and plan to continue through tomorrow.

"It's our way of going out there and leaving a positive impression on the students," she said. "Sometimes a positive message hits home more than a negative message."

The project was the brainchild of county police Lt. Gary Lyle who heads the campus security unit. He said he wanted to do something on campus to mark National Seat Belt Week.

Kurt Sandvig, 32, president of the campus Student Association, said local businesses, such as Domino's Pizza, Sam Goody Records and Tapes, the Annapolis Comedy Club and Nordstrom, donated gift certificates to give to drivers as rewards.

"This serves a couple of purposes," he said. "Some people who weren't wearing them put them on. We are also letting people know that we are concerned about their safety. I think it is important that people get stopped for positive reasons."

Most people don't expect to be given a prize when they are stopped by the police.

"This wasn't all that bad after all," said Brandy Kaiser, 19, as she opened her $15 gift certificate from Sam Goody's. "I was thinking, what could I have been doing wrong? I must be getting a ticket."

Her reaction was typical of drivers, some of whom glared at Sergeant McGough as she walked up to their cars.

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