SEPTA Transit Police's top cop announced on Twitter yesterday that his officers are going to be outfitted with a new tool to help provide an important parenting tip to SEPTA riders.
Because SEPTA riders are sooooo open to parenting tips from strangers.
But Chief Thomas J. Nestel III's campaign is actually a well-meaning endeavor that tries to combat an age-old scare tactic used by parents worldwide: That of pointing to a police officer and telling one's child that the officer will arrest him and lock him up if he's bad.
Nestel's officers will be outfitted with small cards that they can hand to parents that read, in part, "When you point at a police officer and tell your misbehaving child that the police will arrest them, you are making your child afraid of us. If your child gets separated from you, is scared, and needs help, you should want your child to find a police officer."
In an interview, Nestel said his officers overhear such scare tactics from parents "all the time."
"I really don't think that parents are being mean about it, it's not like they don't like us," he said. "They're just trying to get an immediate reaction from a misbehaving child and I think that has potential long-term ramifications.
Nestel said he was inspired to make the cards, which will be about the size of a prayer card, because when he finds himself in such situations he wants to have a conversation with the parent about it but he does not want to potentially embarrass them in front of their child or other passengers.
"I thought this was an easy way to get the message across without actually saying it," he said.