Idaho State Police using dinosaurs to reward seat belt use in southeast Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho State Police have some new helpers in their squad cars: a couple dozen dinosaurs.

In honor of the Museum of Idaho’s newest exhibit, “Dinosaurs in Motion: Where Science and Art Meet,” Idaho State Police troopers giving out small, plastic dinosaurs during their regular traffic stops to reward people for wearing their seat belts.

Image Courtesy: Museum of Idaho's website
Image Courtesy: Museum of Idaho’s website

“The idea came up, well what if the Idaho State Police partnered with the Museum of Idaho and on our traffic stops, we rewarded good behavior,” Lieutenant Chris Weadick, Lieutenant for the Region 6 Patrol of the Idaho State Poice, told KID Newsradio. “Whether it’s an adult that has a seatbelt on or even a child.”

Each dinosaur grants the recipient a dollar off their regular admission price at the Museum of Idaho. Weadick says officers won’t be stopping people just to give the prehistoric toys away. Instead, officers carry the dinosaurs in their patrol cars and during a regular traffic stop.

“If we catch somebody for some reason, let’s say they’re speeding or let’s say we’ve got a traffic violation out here, what a great opportunity to reward good behavior for seeing the usage of seat belts,” Weadick said.

Of course, the dinosaurs are also unique in that they add a positive experience to a what would normally be a stressful situation. Weadick says he hopes hopes the effort shows the public a more approachable side to law enforcement.

“Police officers have a unique job that can very difficult at times,” Lt. Weadick said. “However, it gives us a way to be able to partner with the community and be able to show that we are really out there for the right reasons, trying to do good things in our communities.”

The Museum of Idaho’s exhibit runs until April 22.