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LightsOn program sees success in Winona

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The Winona County Sheriff’s Office announced it handed out 352 vouchers from the LightsOn program during 2021.

The LightsOn program is used whenever an officer pulls over a vehicle for a burned-out bulb. The officer then gives out a voucher that can be used to repair the bulb at any auto repair shop that participates in the program.

The program also “strives to 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 this interaction restorative,” according to the website.

There are 115 sheriff’s offices and police departments participating in the program, most of them being in Minnesota.

According to the program’s website, LightsOn was started in the aftermath of the 2016 death of Philando Castille, who was shot by police at a traffic stop in a St. Paul suburb.

The website goes into detail of the founding of the program by stating, “The MicroGrants Board of Directors discussed ways that they could prevent such a terrible event from happening again. MicroGrants already had connections to low-income drivers, auto repair shops, and law enforcement. MicroGrants CEO Don Samuels, former Public Safety Chair of the Minneapolis City Council, called a number of police departments to ask whether they were interested in joining the program.”

The vouchers handed out by deputies in Winona amount to $88,000 in repairs. The program is funded by the MicroGrants organization and also takes donations.

To learn more about the LightsOn program, visit https://www.lightsonus.org/

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