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3 local police departments join national car repair voucher program

By Ryan Hill,


CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) – You can be hitting the road for work, school, grocery store, you name it.

Sometimes you may not know that your headlights, taillights or turn signals may be out which can lead to something like getting pulled over and ticketed.

"We don’t want some taking those chances because they can’t afford it now to just take that risk and get on the road when they can just get it repaired,” said Sgt. Anthony Molina with the Chula Vista Police Department.

But that can change in the coming weeks thanks to a program called Lights On! .

“So, they’re going to get a voucher and what it’s good for is up to $250 for the repair,” said Molina. “These are those opportunities for our officers to engage with them in a very different way than they’re used to.”

The program’s mission is to replace the tickets to fix burnt out lights given to those drivers with repair vouchers which was created by a Minneapolis-based nonprofit MicroGrants .

Chula Vista police records show that 1,821 of these kinds of citations have been issued from 2019 to 2023 year to date.

Chula Vista, National City and San Diego Police Departments are the first agencies in California to take part in it. San Diego Police said in a press release the departments have partnered with the San Diego Padres Foundation, and Scripps Health to fund the initiative and all donations are matched by MicroGrants.

“This is now another tool that our officers have. So, when they have those moments of this is the right tool to use, they can use it,” Molina said. “Instead of causing a downward spiral maybe be a part of that lifting up.”

And lifting up the community is something some people can support.

“Sometimes people can afford it and that probably adds on to another bill, so I think that’s a really good thing,” Naniece Gonalez said.

“Usually if somebody’s headlight is out most of the time, they’re experiencing some sort of financial hardship. And, you know, one ticket can lead to more and them losing their license,” Eileen Penders said.

As Chula Vista Police and other agencies aim to use this to make roads safer with the roughly three-year program, they’re also making sure know that laws and policies aren’t changing.

“Some of the big things we’re making sure that people understand is that it’s an option; it’s not an every time thing. We’re hopeful again it becomes a way to bridge that gap between the community and our police department. And it’s not just here in Chula Vista but in our County,” said Molina.

San Diego Police said officers are still able act on other violations that may be present at the time of the traffic stop. Chula Vista Police told ABC 10News they’ve gotten four auto shops to participate in the repair voucher program.

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