Operation Chill

Police officers award Slurpee coupons for good deeds

SEATTLE -- 7-Eleven stores in the Grays Harbor area of Seattle have rolled out a program to reward kids' positive behavior with a cool treat. Officers and deputies from the Aberdeen and Hoquiam Police Departments as well as the Grays Harbor Sheriffs Office will "ticket" youngsters with Slurpee coupons when they see them doing something helpful, deterring crime or participating in a positive activity in the community.

The program, known as Operation Chill, awards thousands of free Slurpee coupons during the summer and back-to-school months.

Since the program's inception in 1996, nearly 10 million Operation Chill coupons have been distributed to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country in the areas where 7-Eleven operates stores. This is the first summer police in Grays Harbor have used the Operation Chill program to reward youth for their good deeds as well as enhance their relations with the young people of the area.

"The coupons are great for officers who are on patrol in the community," said Jeff Mason, market manager. "It's an icebreaker, a way to encourage dialogue in a nonthreatening, non law-enforcement situation, and it comes at a great time since our stores are celebrating our 25th anniversary in the Grays Harbor area."

The first 7-Eleven store in the Grays Harbor area opened July 2, 1981 in Aberdeen. Roger St. George became the franchisee owner in 1992 and also has franchised two additional stores, one in Hoquiam and another in Aberdeen.

Operation Chill was developed by 7-Eleven to positively reward and encourage good behavior by kids during the hot summer months, when there is often an increase in loitering, shoplifting and graffiti, and to support law enforcement agencies' community relations projects.

"7-Eleven is a leader in crime prevention, and we're very proud of the success of this program," said Ron Conlin, loss prevention manager.

Youngsters ticketed by the police will receive coupons good for a 12-oz. Slurpee that can be redeemed at participating stores.

Celebrations will take place at all five area 7-Eleven stores with police and deputies distributing child identification kits and other crime prevention items, as well as a K-9 demonstration at one of the stores. McGruff the Crime Dog will make appearances. There will be cookouts on the parking lots with 25-cent Big Bite hot dogs, a variety of raffles and other surprises.