WILDWOOD, N.J. (WPVI) -- Wildwood's police chief says his officers on the boardwalk hear it all summer long.
"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," said Chief Robert Regalbuto.
He says that's the wrong message to send.
"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," he said.
That's why the department is putting up signs on the boardwalk reminding parents that police are there to help.
It reads: "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."
The signs also have contact information for police.
"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."
Some 25 to 30 officers are assigned to the two-mile long boardwalk.
The signs were donated by In Plaza Advertising, Inc. of Southampton, Pa.