FERRIS, Texas - Police in the small town of Ferris, south of Dallas, are on a mission to improve community relations one person at a time. They really mean it when they say, “Have a nice day.”
Ferris PD officers are hitting the streets armed with not only their guns, radios and body cameras but a stack of “Acts of Kindness” cards as well.
The cards are part of the department’s latest community policing effort. The idea is simple.
“We just want to tell you to smile and have a good day,” an officer said as he handed a card to a driver in Ferris recently. “Have a great day compliments of the Ferris Police Department. Take care!”
The cards ask people to pay it forward. The goal is to change public perception of police officers.
“Once you give them the card and tell them to have a nice day. That million dollar smile they give you, that’s a huge reward for the small effort we put in to doing this,” Ferris PD Chief Eddie Salazar said.
“I actually got one not too long ago and I passed it on to people at work. And, they love it,” said resident Shelby Welch.
The cards are printed at the police station. The department started with 80 in March. Now about 6,000 are floating around the city.
Ferris PD is asking people to post a picture of the card on the department’s Facebook page to let police know where they got it and when, and then pass it on to someone else. Police want to see where the cards end up.
Some have already ended up as far away as Cincinnati, Ohio, Kansas, Alaska, California, Arizona, Louisiana and even as far down in South America as Caracas, Venezuela.
“I was just driving by. The chief stopped me and gave me a card. It put a smile on my face,” said Roderrick Hughes, a Red Oak resident.
Ferris PD is now challenging other departments like Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio to do the same. They’ve even printed cards for them.
“It has brought us closer and it has changed. I think it’s made a difference,” said Officer Angela Barnes.
“I like it. I really do. It’s just nice to have a good interaction with the police department. I know they have a tough job, so it’s nice,” said Ronnie Jenkins, a Wilmer resident.
The little gesture “goes a long way… a long way,” said Officer Emily Hickman.