It was so successful last year, the Toms River Police Department is again rewarding kids who wear helmets with vouchers for free ice cream this summer. "Operation Brain Freeze" runs through August 31. 

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

38 Police officers handed out 280 ice cream vouchers in the program's first year to promote compliance with helmet Laws and attempt to prevent traumatic brain injuries, according to Department spokesman Ralph Stocco.

This year, he said they're hoping to issue nearly 500 vouchers. Participating ice cream shops on the barrier island and beach area include Summer Sweets and Barnacle Bills. Cherrys, Mrs. Walkers, Yellow Brick Road and Dairy Queen on the mainland also are participating.

Officers on patrol who spot a child riding a bicycle, skateboard, roller blades, or scooter while correctly wearing a safety helmet will approach those kids and stress the importance of wearing the protective head gear, according to Stocco. As an incentive, the children will then be provided with a voucher to one of the local businesses that entitle them to one free ice cream.  For safety reasons only officers in uniform and driving marked police cars will be participating.

"It is such a joy to be able to interact with the children and have them see the officers in a positive light.  We are trying to build lifelong relationships with them.  We thank our sponsors who are donating the ice cream.  Without them this even could not be possible," added Police Chief Mitch Little.

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