Beginning this month the DeWitt Police Department will roll out the Lights On! program to help drivers with burned-out bulbs on their vehicles and to build community trust.

“We are very excited to be the first agency in the State of Iowa to work with the Lights On! organization, a Minnesota based non-profit, to implement this innovative program,” said DeWitt Police Chief David Porter in a news release.

Late last year, Porter was speaking with a fellow police chief in Minnesota when the issue of building community trust came up in conversation. Porter’s colleague explained a new program that his agency was using called Lights On! as one way to help build community trust.

It’s a common scenario: An officer pulls over a vehicle with a burned-out bulb except, now, instead of a ticket or warning, the officer has the option of handing the driver a Lights On! voucher for free light repair. The drivers can then redeem those vouchers for free repairs at any participating auto service provider.

In many instances a broken tail-light or turn signal can mean choosing between a minor auto repair or buying groceries for the family. It can also spark a downward economic spiral that for some yields multiple tickets, confrontations with law enforcement, and even vehicle impoundment.

The Lights On! program has the potential to disrupt the downward spiral and build goodwill between police departments and the communities they serve.

The Lights On! program strives to improve, heal and transform police-community relationships. When participating officers pull over a driver for a burnt-out bulb, they can move with more confidence and hope knowing that they have a tool, a Lights On! voucher, to make the interaction a positive one.