Illinois police officers surprise residents with free money

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Danville police officers on Wednesday surprised passing pedestrians and drivers with gifts of cash.

The Commercial-News reports Danville Police Association made 30 stops to hand out $100 bills to randomly selected citizens.

Public Safety Director Larry Thomason says his officers came up with the idea after hearing about other departments doing similar gifting. He said the Danville Police Association raised the gifts on their own time.

"They're always looking for a way to help someone", Thomason said.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer praised the move, saying it gives residents a chance to "see our officers in a different light."

15-year-old Eric Bridges was walking into school when an unmarked police car flagged him down. The Danville High School freshman then was speechless when Thomason handed him an envelope containing the cash.

"I'm still shocked," Bridges said.

JoNita McBride, who also received a prize, said she knows exactly how she's spending the money.

"I was pulling out my driver's license and he said, 'I don't need it," JoNita McBride said. "I got three new grandbabies so you know where that's going."

Thomason said he hopes people will use the money to "pay it forward."


Information from: Commercial-News,

Photos courtesy of Mandy Matney / Commercial-News

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