While on patrol this summer, Minot police officers will be on the lookout for kids wearing helmets. When they find them, they’ll reward them with a “citation” good for a small Dairy Queen ice cream cone.

It’s part of AAA’s “I Got Caught” statewide campaign, an effort to encourage young people to wear a helmet while biking, skateboarding or in-line skating.

As many as 12,000 ice cream “citations” are expected to be written this year in various North Dakota cities.

Minot patrol officers have been regular participants in the annual program, which is an easy way to have positive interactions with kids in the Magic City while reinforcing and rewarding the safe behavior of helmet usage.

According to a 2018 study published in the National Library of Medicine, the use of bicycle helmets was found to reduce head injury by 48 percent, serous head injury by 60 percent, and traumatic brain injury by 53 percent.

Supporting sponsors of the annual campaign include the North Dakota Sheriffs and Deputies Association, the North Dakota Chiefs of Police Association, Vision Zero, and Safe Kids coalitions in Bismarck, Grand Forks, Fargo and Minot, and Dairy Queen.

Due to overwhelming positive response form communities, the number of ice cream citations provided by law enforcement agencies across North Dakota has grown over the eight years of the program, according to AAA’s Gene LaDoucer. Since 2013, more than 105,000 citations for a free Dairy Queen cone have been issued to youth across the state.