Police offer reward to drivers

Beth Wilberding

Free food has become a reward to designated drivers in their efforts at keeping roads a little safer.

Campus police officers are giving $10 gift cards to designated drivers who pick up inebriated friends.

When campus police arrest a motorist for driving under the influence, they often need someone to pick up inebriated passengers, campus police officer Joe Harbaugh said. That’s where designated drivers can get their reward.

“They come out and we’ll give that person a $10 gift card,” he said.

Many of the gift cards, which are good for food only, have already been awarded, Harbaugh said. There are still gift cards available.

Harbaugh said the program will let designated drivers know campus police appreciate them.

The program began in October as part of Alcohol Awareness week.

Western’s chapter of the Kentucky Public Health Association and five local restaurants are sponsoring the program.

Lisa Thomason, president of Western’s chapter of the Kentucky Public Health Association, said the organization designated some grant money it received to the drunk driving incentives program.

“I think drinking and driving is definitely an issue that exists on campuses,” she said. “We decided with part of our grant money to reward people who are already acting responsibly.”

Western’s was one of only four chapters in the state to receive grant money from the Kentucky Public Health Association.

The five restaurants participating in the program are Rafferty’s, O’Charley’s, Montana Grille, Lonestar and Applebee’s. Each restaurant agreed to match the number of gift cards campus police purchased.

Mike Lilly, general manager of Rafferty’s, said the program was a good way of helping the community, especially because a lot of their employees are Western students.

Lilly said another reason Rafferty’s wanted to become a part of the program was because of the safety designated drivers provide.

“If someone goes out they’ll be able to be safe,” he said.

Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]