Roseville PD joins in ‘Lights On’ program

As announced by Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig in his March 31 newsletter, the Roseville Police Department is joining a program that can fix people’s busted brake and headlights free of charge.

Metro area service station chain Bobby & Steve’s Auto World and the nonprofit MicroGrants have teamed up with Roseville PD to bring it into the “Lights On” program.

Mathwig says drivers who have non-functioning vehicle lights and are pulled over by Roseville cops may be given a coupon redeemable at Bobby & Steve’s for free light repairs.

According to Mathwig, Roseville’s entry into Lights On has a two-part rationale.

For 2017, the Roseville Police Department altered its traffic enforcement focus to concentrate on moving violations, which are proven to cause crashes. There will be less of a focus on stopping people for equipment violations, such as a burnt out headlight.

Speeding, driver inattention and improper lane use, among other examples of poor driving, can cause head-on collisions and other accidents, Mathwig says.

“Those moving violations are what cause the most harm so let’s focus on those,” he says.

The other reason Mathwig says the police department joined the program is because of Roseville’s proximity to concentrated poverty, both in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as in the city’s southwest corner.

Unpaid traffic tickets for equipment violations and other misdemeanors can be a debt trap for the poor, Mathwig says. “Sometimes the cycle of poverty doesn’t allow someone to get their car fixed or license updated.”

“In order to help people without pushing them further into a cycle of poverty, we can help out just by giving them a coupon to get their light fixed and make things better,” he says.

The Roseville chief noted people need not show up at police headquarters to seek out a coupon — officers will hand them out in the streets directly during traffic stops.

Mathwig says he’s not sure how long the Lights On program will go on, though, he says, “Hopefully it will last for a long time.”


Mike Munzenrider

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