WILDWOOD, N.J.-- A New Jersey police department is asking parents to stop threatening their kids that they'll be arrested if they are bad, reports CBS New York.
Wildwood Police Chief Robert Regalbuto said officers do not want children to be scared of police when they need help.
"Over the course of a season, we hear hundreds of parents tell their children, 'Don't do anything bad or he (the officer) is going to arrest you,'" Regalbuto said. "We don't want children to be fearful of police officers. We want them to know that police officers are their friends and are there to help them."
Visitors to the city's nearly 2-mile-long boardwalk will see signs this summer featuring a smiling police officer that say, "Parents: Please stop telling your children we will haul them off to jail if they are bad. We want them to run TO us if they are scared, NOT be scared of US."
Regalbuto said if a child is lost or in distress, a police officer will offer safety until the child can be reunited with parents.
"We are trying to make the environment safer for residents, visitors and children," Regalbuto said. "It's a very large area with bells, whistles and lights that attract children, so they're not paying attention. If we can give kids, mom and dad a little bit more information, it's a good thing."
The ads also feature information on how to contact the police department.