COVINGTON, LA -- A team of officers with the Covington Police Department lined the streets along Saint Scholastica Academy on Tuesday. They all had a critical eye ready for the students who were leaving for the day.
Many of the students got behind the wheel of their own cars to head out. Others jumped onboard as passengers. One by one, the officers approached and stopped each car.
But it was all smiles as officers handed out t-shirts to the students. The shirts were a reward for the kids who were wearing their seat belts.
CPD Chief Tim Lentz started the 'I Got Caught' program. It's in its fifth year. Each of the t-shirts says 'I got caught' on the front followed by 'wearing my seat belt' on the back.
'Thank you for wearing your seat belt,' the officers told each of the students as the t-shirts exchanged hands. The meeting was often followed with, 'Y'all be careful,' as the cars pulled away.
Lentz says the program is a good reminder for students as they prepare for the summer break. He wants to do what he can to encourage them to drive safely.
Later this week, officers will also handout the shirts at Covington High School and Saint Paul's.
In all, the department has about 500 shirts to distribute. Every year, they're paid for by sponsors. Lentz says that there are about a dozen sponsors this year. In fact, he says the popularity of the program has attracted more sponsors than needed, so some were turned away until next year.
Over the years, occasionally a student wouldn't be wearing a seat belt. In those cases, they often got a brief lecture... and then a shirt.