Police issue 'pantry tickets' for minor traffic violations
AFFTON (AP) - Drivers pulled over by police in the Affton area of St. Louis County for a minor traffic violation recently got a surprise: No ticket, but a suggestion to instead donate money to a food pantry or some other worthy cause.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the "pantry ticket" or "courtesy card" are issued only to drivers who would just get a warning anyway. Chief Jon Belmar says he wants to spread the initiative countywide to help improve relations between residents and police.
Last year's fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a now-former Ferguson police officer brought attention to the tension between police and the public. A Justice Department report criticized many St. Louis County municipalities whose finances depended heavily upon their law enforcement to produce traffic fine revenue.