“Kids love it because they love Slurpee drinks. Police officers love it because it gives them a reason to approach youngsters in a non-authoritative role and build positive relationships,” says 7-Eleven spokesperson.
To foster friendly relationships with local law enforcement and encourage good behavior, 7-Eleven Inc. is giving one million “FREE Slurpee” coupons to police officers who catch kids doing something good.
Operation Chill, as the popular community program is called, has been a summer mainstay of 7-Eleven stores since 1975.
Uniformed police officers can be intimidating to many children and teens. Rewarding “good behavior” with a cool treat helps build positive relationships between local law enforcement agencies and young people.
Through Operation Chill, law enforcement officers from participating local police and sheriff’s departments can “ticket” youngsters with the free beverage coupons who are “caught” in random acts of kindness, good deeds or positive community activities. Appropriate “offenses” might include helping another person, wearing a bicycle helmet while riding or skateboarding, deterring crime or participating in a police athletic league. Each coupon can be redeemed for a small Slurpee drink at participating 7-Eleven stores.
“Operation Chill coupons are one of the most effective ways to reward many of our young people,” said Office Rob Wood of the Bellevue Police Department in Washington state. ”We have found that one of the best ways to build good police-citizen relationships in Bellevue is to give these coupons to our police bike team. They go into places like parks, malls and multi-family areas to give out the Slurpee coupons. This is an excellent program and shows 7-Eleven’s community-minded support in a very tangible way.”
Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 10 million Operation Chill coupons have been distributed to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country in areas where 7-Eleven operates stores. During the upcoming summer months and back-to-school season, one million Slurpee coupons will be distributed to kids in more than 300 cities, towns and counties.
Operation Chill was developed by 7-Eleven to positively reward and encourage good behavior by kids during the hot summer months when communities may experience increases in loitering, shoplifting and graffiti. The coupons also can be used to support law enforcement agencies’ community relations projects.
“Operation Chill has always been one of our most popular community projects,” said Mark Stinde, 7-Eleven’s senior asset protection director. “Kids love it because they love Slurpee drinks. Police officers love it because it gives them a reason to approach youngsters in a non-authoritative role and build positive relationships.”
According to Stinde, police departments begin contacting 7-Eleven earlier each year to sign up for the annual program. Already participating in this year’s program are law enforcement agencies from the greater Los Angeles, San Diego, Orlando, Tampa, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas areas.
7-Eleven’s proprietary Slurpee semi-frozen carbonated beverage has generational appeal with slurpers both young and old. More than a half-million Slurpee drinks are purchased each day during the summer at 7-Eleven stores across the country.