Chatham Co. Police, nonprofit team up to help drivers get broken tail lights fixed
CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Instead of getting a ticket for a broken tail light, you could now get a pass and a voucher to get it fixed. Thanks to a partnership between the Chatham County Police Department and a Minnesota-based nonprofit.
Chatham County Police say they’re the first law enforcement agency in Georgia to pair up with the national “Lights On” program, to help give drivers a break who get pulled over for having broken tail lights and signals.
On top of getting more cars on the road in compliance, Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley says he wants this partnership with Lights On! to help build trust between his department and the community.
According to Hadley, CCPD wrote drivers around 400 citations for mechanical related issues last year.
“Often times that’s a very high-anxiety exercise for the citizen. And what we’re able to do is provide vouchers for the citizen if they have a mechanical issue...whether it be a headlight out or a tail light out,” Hadley said. That voucher is covered by nonprofit Lights On!, a group Chatham County Commissioner Kenneth Adams thought might be a good fit for the county.
“It’ll help the citizens, as well as it may bring more good community relations. Who knows, a kid may be in the car, and they might learn from this incident, about being stopped. They might learn to respect the police a little bit more,” Commissioner Adams said.
In addition to boosting community, police relations, Lights On! reps say the vouchers they pay for keep families from getting into financial holes.
“It’s about $176 for a taillight out. That would be the court cost plus the fine for the violation. So, think of, I’m faced with spending $176 plus having to go get my violation fixed, or I’m given a voucher by law enforcement, and I get it fixed for free, I don’t get a citation and we all walk away better served. Because at the end of the day, all we want is compliance,” Hadley said.
Chief Hadley says officers will still have discretion if there are additional, more serious violations during stops.
Right now, there are five auto repair shops partnering with CCPD through the Lights On! initiative, and more are encouraged to join.
The vouchers expire in 14 days from being written, and cover up to $250 on light-related repairs.
- AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care
- Auto Intensive Care
- Automotive Services of Savannah
- Mitchell’s Auto Shop
- Scorpion Motorsports
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