The Takoma Park Police Department has entered into a new partnership that, effective today (May 31), can provide drivers pulled over for a traffic stop with free vouchers to repair mechanical problems with the vehicle, according to a department press release.
The partnership is with Lights On!, a program that word to improve community–police relations by providing the vouchers, worth up to $250, to fix typical safety violations with headlights, taillights, brake lights and blinkers if needed.
“The Lights On! program is a way to build relationships between police departments and the communities they serve,” Sherman Patterson, vice president of Lights On!, said in the press release.
“Instead of punishing drivers for broken lights, we can fix the mechanical issue and mitigate what often becomes a downward spiral for community members in need,” he added. “We are giving officers a new tool on their duty belt that creates a positive interaction, especially needed in these tense times.”
Lights On! is in turn a program of MicroGrants, a non-profit that “gives grants of around $1,000 for low-income people of potential to invest in their lives. The grants are designed to help people increase their income either through small business development or getting and retaining stable employment,” according to its website.
The Lights On! program notes that for some, a safety violation can mean choosing between the repair and buying groceries.
The Takoma Park department is the first municipal department in Maryland to receive a MicroGrants awards to help fund this program. Other funding will come from fines generated by speed cameras, according to the department.
The vouchers are good for repairs at a second partner, RS Automotive at 7224 Carroll Ave. RS also joined the police department last year in an effort to deter catalytic converter thefts by providing free etching of license plate numbers on the converters.
The vouchers are only available to those pulled over for a traffic stop; they are not available for the asking.
Lights On! graphic
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