Sweet Lesson: Deputy serves up pie instead of citations

December, 2016 Posted in Community

deputy-w-pieBy Mary Owen

When emotions get high, give them pie!
Deputy Tom Barber played Simple Simon during the Thanksgiving holiday by handing surprised motorists a fruit pie instead of a traffic ticket. Barber, who covers the city of Sublimity for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, came up with the idea as a creative way to change driving behavior without all the tension associated with receiving a citation.

“Often when people get stopped by the police they have a combination of nerves,” Barber said. “Some get anxious, scared or upset that they will have to pay a large fine that they just can’t afford. Some think that now their insurance will go up while others may think that it’s embarrassing. Often people have a combination of everything!”

An anonymous donor recently approached Barber with a donation of 10 Willamette Valley Fruit Co. pies to hand out to motorists stopped for traffic violations. “I can tell you she is a small business owner here in this area,” Barber said. “A very kind and gracious lady! She knows who she is, and I thank her!”

Loaded with the donated pies, Barber stopped 10 motorists over the course of an hour, starting out with his usual conversation: “Good afternoon, I’m Deputy Barber.” He then informed each motorist of why he or she was stopped, followed by the “fine” of a “nice round figure” for the violation before returning to his car to retrieve a fruit pie.

“A pie in lieu of a citation is certainly unique,” he said. “One sweet lady I stopped happened to be from the community of Detroit. She said she thought for sure she was going to get a ticket and had prepared herself for it.”

Returning to his car, he picked out a pie. While handing it to the lady, he said she became visibly emotional and teared up.

“I told her, ‘This is from our police family to yours,’” he said. “She was thankful and blessed us.” Barber hopes that the simple gift of a pie made the traffic stop one that the 10 motorists would never forget.

“These are the people and things that make my job so rewarding,” he said. “I love Sublimity and the people I serve!”

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