WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The hobby of coin collecting has taken on a new meaning in the City of Wheat Ridge. In honor of the city’s 50th anniversary, the Wheat Ridge Police Department is handing out collectible “conversation coins” to community members. In order to get your hands on one, you have to be caught in the act.
“We’re gonna search for Good Samaritans!” said Officer Barb Webb as she started up her patrol car.
CBS4 tagged along with Webb as she searched for community members — large or small — making a positive difference.
Webb works for the Community Service Division of the Wheat Ridge Police Department. A normal day for her ranges from nuisance calls to health and safety violations to catching loose pets.
“I have snake tongs, I have dog treats,” she showed CBS4’s Jamie Leary.
Adding to her toolbox, Webb now carries a bag full of conversation coins.
“So, this is a conversation coin. (We’re) basically saying thanks for doing the right thing, leashing up your dog when you come out of the park. Thanks for being a good citizen,” she said.
There are five different collectible coins in total that will be available throughout 2019. One side includes the Team or Division design and the flip side features the commemorative 50th Anniversary badge.
“Having these coins to give to citizens, especially the younger generation, they just think it’s great to get something from the police officers or community services. Knowing that they’re doing a good thing, I think it kind of reinforces that good behavior.”
The skate park at Discovery Park was the perfect place to start.
“So, we’ll just get out and then walk around, I’ll bring my coins with me. I’ve got plenty. So I see a little guy over here with his helmet on,” said Webb.
A closer look revealed two boys, taking turns sharing a bike and a helmet.
“Do you want a coin for you guys sharing that helmet?” Webb asked.
Their yelps of excitement could be heard a mile away — a moment the boys won’t soon forget. Each gave Webb a high five.
“I think it’s a great way to reach out to people and show appreciation for taking certain measures to appreciate rules and boundaries and why they’re expected to be followed,” said Chris Cooper, a father one of one of the boys.
While Webb has plenty on her plate, she takes this new mission seriously.
“We need this, we need it every day. Seeing the good deeds that we’re actually out there doing instead of, you know everybody coming down that we’re enforcing laws. Being told that you’re harassing and you’re not. You’re just doing your job. But to know that we instill some good there, it’s a good feeling,” said Webb.
At Brookdale Park, Webb issued a simple warning to one man with a dog off leash, then turned her attention to a few others following the law.
“So this is a conversation coin, basically saying thanks for doing the right thing, leashing up your dog when you come out of the park.”
There were a few confused looks initially but when people realized they weren’t in trouble, their expression changed from confused to presently surprised.
“I think it’s great for the community, I think it’s great that it brings people together I think it encourages people to do the right thing,” said Wheat Ridge resident Kendra Curtis.
In a grocery store parking lot, Webb stopped a mother and her child at their car.
“You grabbed our attention, we saw you use the crosswalk holding hands, (you) came over here and you put your child in a child restraint. That is awesome,” Webb told the woman while handing her a coin.
Webb is hopeful the interactions will make a difference, even if it’s small. In her mind, if one person remembers to leash their dog or wear a helmet, the initiative is a success.
“It’ll be great to see what this whole year holds because I think it’s going to just continue to go on and I think we’re going to see a lot of change; hopefully in people’s perspective in what we bring because we really try to help our people … to help our community.”