IRVING, Texas—Police departments nationwide rely on citizens to help them keep neighborhoods safe. So, it’s important for officers to build positive relationships with residents early, even when they're still kids. For 24 years, 7-Eleven and its popular Operation Chill program have been assisting police as they do just that, reports Franchising News.
Each year, 7-Eleven works with police and sheriff's departments to distribute Slurpee coupons to youngsters and teens who do good deeds. This year, 7-Eleven will issue 1.475 million Slurpee drink coupons to more than 1,100 law enforcement agencies in both big cities and small towns. Most will be distributed during the summer months and back-to-school season.
The Slurpee drink coupons help enhance relationships between officers and young people. Officers reward the kids for doing good deeds, constructive activities and acts of kindness. This could include helping another person, following safety and traffic laws or taking part in a community or police-sponsored event. Although reasons for being “ticketed” vary, the result is the same: a free small Slurpee from a participating 7-Eleven store and a smile for being a good kid.
“The goal of the San Diego Police Department is to develop strong community relations in order to keep everyone safe,” said David Nisleit, chief of the San Diego Police Department. “That includes building relationships with the younger members of our community. Being able to bring a smile to a child’s face is always rewarding.”
Begun in Philadelphia in 1995 to give law enforcement officers a positive reason to interact with kids, Operation Chill has expanded across the country, providing law enforcement with more than 22 million coupons.
“There’s a reason Operation Chill continues to be our most popular community service program,” said Art Lazo, vice president of asset protection, 7-Eleven. “Kids love Slurpee drinks, and police officers love having a reason to approach kids and surprise them with a Slurpee drink coupon as a reward for doing something good. At 7-Eleven, we know how important it is for police officers to make positive connections with kids early.”
Slurpee, the semi-frozen carbonated beverage, has generational appeal with thirsty kids of all ages. More than a half-million Slurpee drinks are purchased each day during the summer at U.S. 7-Eleven stores.