SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (NEWS10) =- Getting pulled over by a police officer can definitely be nerve-racking, however, Saugerties Police are working to ease those tensions.
Starting June 1st, if you happen to get pulled over in Saugerties for broken lights on your vehicle, Saugerties Police will hand you a voucher instead of a ticket. At no cost to the driver.
The Saugerties Police Department will be the first law enforcement agency in New York State to roll out on the national Lights On! program. This program allows officers to hand out vouchers to drivers instead of tickets when they have a broken light on their vehicles. Lights On! is community funded program and free to police department and voucher recipients. The initial funding is made possible through First Responders Children’s Foundation CSX Pride in Service grant.
The program is used by police departments across the country. The purpose of this innovate program is to create better relationships between the community and those in uniform.
“[Some people are] making hard decisions if they can pay for this light bulb or [asking themselves] can I pay for my rent? Can I feed my children? They’re making those decisions and with that voucher that brings that down,” says Lights On! Program Director Sherman Patterson.
“Now we can provide an opportunity you know what, you’re going to get that light fixed, it’s going to cost you nothing. You won’t get stopped by any other police agency because your lights fixed, and we’ve stopped that vicious circle of financially impacting people when they’re down on their luck,” says Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra. Sinagra says the program’s purpose is twofold: It cuts struggling motorists a break and improves relationships between the public and police.
“I think it’s a good way to get the community and law enforcement back together with each other,” says Tim Hines, Mechanic at Steyer’s Hudson Valley Auto INC. Tim is always getting his hands dirty at the body shop. He says he repairs broken lights almost every single day. For Tim, the goal is to get the lights fixed ASAP. “Most of the time if you pull in and say you have a voucher, you don’t have to make an appointment we’ll take you right then and there,” Tim adds.
If you get a voucher and you’re not from the area and want to use it, you will have to get your car fixed in Saugerties. Police Chief Sinagra hopes law enforcement agencies across New York will adopt the program.