FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Now the holiday season is here, the Flagler Beach Police Department is kicking off an annual initiative for drivers that find themselves on the naughty list. Instead of shelling out for a ticket, they can choose to help local children in need through the department's sixth annual Toys for Tickets program. 

What You Need To Know

  • Drivers can drop off toys at the police department

  • Unwrapped toys will be collected through December 10

  • One driver loves the idea of helping out children

  • Gifts will be given to local charity Christmas Come True

“It spreads joy. That is what the holidays are about. So through the charity of others, you may get a child that wouldn’t have had a toy to open but a motorist who they will never meet, that child will get a chance to open up a gift on Christmas and that is what it is really about,” said Chief Matt Doughney, of the Flagler Beach Police Department, who came up with the idea. 

Officers can use their discretion to issue a warning for minor traffic violations and a "toy waiver" instead of a ticket.

“Especially during COVID and the holidays, some people may not have a lot of money and a $166 ticket may be all the money somebody has earmarked for Christmas. So the thought was issue warnings and just give them toy vouchers and just ask them if they can do it in the kindness of their heart and they can afford to just drop off an unwrapped new toy that can be wrapped and given to a child in Flagler County," said Doughney. 

So far, the police department has given out more than 100 toy waivers. Drivers are already returning to the department with toys. One driver, who was pulled over on Tuesday, had never heard of the initiative and was excited to participate. 

“It's a great program, we shouldn’t be speeding anyway but I mean if you get a break, it's nice to get a break once in a while,” said Robert Cann, who was flagged down by officers running radar on A1A.

The toys will be collected through December 10. Then they will be wrapped and given out to the local charity Christmas Come True. All the toys will go to kids in need in Flagler County. 

“Especially with the pandemic, it’s been really hard on a lot of extra families. So we are seeing a lot of kids, more kids than usual and families as well because a lot of families are unemployed and they can’t provide what they are used to providing prior to this pandemic,” said officer Keith Jones, as he watched for speeders. 

Doughney explained this is not a get out jail free card. This program is used at the discretion of the officers for only minor traffic violations. 

Anyone interested in donating a toy is welcome to drop some off at the Flagler Beach Police Department at 204 South Flagler Ave.