Innovative, Community-Driven Program Supports Law Enforcement and Auto Service Providers to Replace Tickets with Repair Vouchers at No Cost
SAUGERTIES (May 26, 2021) – First Responders Children’s Foundation, in coordination with CSX, will provide financial support for The Saugerties Police Department as they implement the Lights On! program in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
Lights On! is a nationwide program that encourages law enforcement agencies to issue repair vouchers—instead of tickets—when motorists are stopped for minor mechanical violations. The mission of Lights On! is to heal relationships between communities and law enforcement agencies. The program is community funded, making the financial support of First Responders Children’s Foundation and CSX Pride in Service critical to its success.
“As a Foundation, we strive to create strong relationships with first responder agencies and the broader community. Lights On! is a perfect example of these relationships,” said Jillian Crane, President of the First Responders Children’s Foundation. “Law Enforcement Officers understand that many individuals have to choose between putting food on the table or paying a ticket. Instead of ticketing people for trying to do the best they can, First Responders Children’s Foundation, the Police Department of Ulster County and Sawyer car dealership want to create positive relationships and trust between the police and community. Giving a coupon to fix a taillight instead of a ticket is one small way that police can say that we care about you and we understand.”
The program’s mission is two-fold: giving struggling motorists a break and improving relationships between communities and the police.
“The Lights On! program is for those who may not be able to afford repairing a vehicle,” says Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra. “Especially now, with the added financial problems brought about by COVID-19, a citation for these minor offenses can lead to further financial strain, and to additional confrontations with law enforcement.”
Sinagra said once the program gets going, his officers will have the discretion during routine stops to issue vouchers instead of citations for the mechanical violations.
“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,” says Don Samuels, CEO and founder of Lights On!. “We are giving officers a new tool on their duty belt that creates a positive interaction, especially needed in these tense times.”
To learn more about how to support Lights On! visit 1stRCF.org.
Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships
About First Responders Children’s Foundation
For the past 20 years, First Responders Children’s Foundation has been providing college scholarships to children of first responders who have lost a parent in the line of duty. The Foundation also awards grants to families enduring significant financial hardship and supports programs operated by law enforcement organizations whose purpose is to benefit children or the community in which they live. The Foundation’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade breakfast hosts children and family members of those lost in the line of duty for a free breakfast and front-row view of the Parade so those families can gather and heal during what might otherwise be a stressful holiday. More information can be found at www.1stRCF.org. Follow First Responders Children’s Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @1stRCF.
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural and consumer products. For nearly 200 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 230 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike. More information about CSX Corporation and its subsidiaries is available at www.csx.com. Like us on Facebook (https://facebook.com/OfficialCSX) and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CSX).
About Lights On!
Lights On! is a community-driven program which offers repair vouchers instead of traffic tickets for participating law enforcement agencies and communities they serve. The program was founded after the unnecessary death of Philando Castile in 2016 as a solution to a small problem that has a significant community impact. Officers can provide drivers with Lights On! vouchers redeemable for free repairs of broken lights at partnered auto shops. The vouchers reduce the financial burden that could lead to a potential downward spiral for community members in need as well as creates a positive interaction between drivers and officers, to rebuild trust. Lights On! was created by Don Samuels, CEO of MicroGrants, a non-profit dedicated to providing people of potential with grants that spur economic stability by bridging the gap between their current state and a more successful future. For more information, visit LightsOnUS.org and follow Lights On! on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.