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NORTHPORT, Ala. (WIAT) — Northport police officers are spreading some Christmas cheer. From now until Christmas day, they are handing out gift cards instead of traffic tickets.

Spokesperson Haley Abbett from the police department says a Tuscaloosa County resident donated funds to make the project happen.

“Everyone gets nervous when they see the blue lights, ‘oh my goodness, here is another bad thing,’ and so when we come along and give them a gift card instead of a ticket, it gives them a positive image of the police and lets them know we are out here to help them too. And we are proud to be a part of this community,” Abbett said.

Abbett says this is a great way to better community relations and help families who need assistance for the holidays.

“We love building relationships with our community, one of our officers told us after he gave away a gift card yesterday, it made the person cry because he really needed it,” said Abbett.

Officers gave 100 gift cards to hand out during traffic stops. They will be giving away $50 Publix grocery store gift cards and $25 gas cards so folks can fill up the tank.