ALTON, Texas (KVEO) — It might not feel much like Christmas outside, but that isn’t stopping the city of Alton from spreading some holiday cheer.

A speeding ticket is the last thing someone wants to get right before Christmas. So, for the fourth year in a row, Alton police officers are giving out gift cards instead of tickets for small traffic violations.

Jonathan Flores, the Alton Police Chief, says the annual tradition helps them spread goodwill.

“I think that these things go a long way to show, kind of humanizes the badge in that way and shows that we also are humans and we have a heart and want to spread the holiday cheer,” Flores said.

For Miguel Villalobos, a community officer with Alton PD, it’s his first year giving gifts instead of tickets.

Villalobos said giving a gift card instead of a ticket is a chance for people to learn from their mistakes without having to pay a fine.

After returning from one traffic stop where he gave out a gift card instead of a citation, Villalobos explained the traffic stop started how an ordinary traffic stop would. He gave the driver the same advice he would on a normal day.

“Slow it down, be safe, conduct himself in a good, professional manner for the city,” Villalobos said.

When it came time to give the driver his ticket, Villalobos said gave him a gift card instead.

Villalobos said that Chief Flores and the Alton PD were very community forward.

“That’s what we’re all about, getting closer to the community,” Villalobos said. “It’s not only enforcing traffic laws, and enforcing the laws, but also to keep close to the community. To let them know we’re here when they need us.”

One driver who got a gift card instead of a ticket told KVEO that they were surprised and thankful to not get ticket so close to the holidays.

“Some people are having bad issues with all these things, and COVID,” said Oliver Perez, the driver who was pulled over. “I mean, we just appreciate the officers of Alton.”

While the program only lasts a day, Chief Flores hopes the message rings true all season long.

“We want everybody to be careful, we want everybody to have a fun and enjoyable holiday season. So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everybody,” he said.