Sep 25, 2021
Lights On! replaces traffic tickets with repair vouchers, redeemed for free repairs at participating auto shops. Community-funded, the program transforms the tension of traffic stops into an opportunity for help and healing. Low-income drivers face disproportionate police encounters because they drive older cars, prone to equipment failure. Their lack of resources often leads to a downward spiral, ending in poverty and legal trouble. With Lights On!, police and drivers are supported and transformed in the process, for a win-win-win outcome. Click on this video to learn more.
For Lights On!, college students are at the heart of their mission. Students often have no extra money to pay for a ticket or repair, and they often driving these older cars that are more likely to need repairs. Furthermore, younger folks can be at the center of distrust of police officers. Lights On! can help ease those tensions and build more positive perceptions of the police.
"Recent tragic encounters have brought police-community relations to an all-time low,” said Lights On! Chief Executive Officer Don Samuels. “All across America, people are insisting on change. Leaders are promising healed relationships. Lights On! is the solution to begin that healing, " he added.
Currently, Lights On! has 113 participating law enforcement agencies; 106 are in Minnesota as Lights On! only recently began expanding nationally.
“IACLEA is lucky to join in the effort of Lights On!’s national outreach campaign so early on,” said IACLEA President Patrick Ogden. “We look forward to welcoming Lights On! to our upcoming Board of Directors meeting early next month (Oct. 6-8 at the University of Delaware campus), when important IACLEA partners have a chance to introduce themselves to us and tout their accomplishments,” he added.
“The University of Maryland—an IACLEA member institution—is already on board with Lights On!,” said Executive Director John Bernhards. “We’re hoping that in letting you know about this program that you’ll reach out to your institutional representatives to also partner with Lights On! as this is an incredible opportunity and a great way for police-community relationships to heal, and for students to form positive interactions with police to restore trust and solve problems,” he added.
"We are excited to partner with the IACLEA,” said Lights On! Program Director Sherman Patterson. “We believe that bringing our program to college campuses is vitally important and at the center of what Lights On! is all about. Students are not only on a limited income and need extra support wherever they can get it, but also can experience tense interactions with law enforcement. We are connecting. We are healing."
MORE INFORMATION: Lights On! officially launched in April 2017 with 19 participating police departments in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. MicroGrants shares staff and administration with Lights On!; but, for the most part, they are funded separately.