INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Imagine being stopped by an Indianapolis police officer for a traffic violation for a problem with your vehicle, but, much to your surprise, the officer won’t give you a ticket or a fine.
Instead, the officer will give you a $25 Jiffy Lube gift card to help get the problem fixed.
It’s all part of the No Ticket, Let’s Fix It campaign, a partnership with Jiffy Lube, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Marion County prosecutor’s and sheriff’s offices.
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said Tuesday, “Think about all the suspensions that we’re preventing from occurring because someone gets pulled over, they’ve got a taillight issue and if they didn’t have the funds to pay that ticket, then their license would get suspended. So, we’re also preventing a number of people from having that license suspension.”
He added, “We’re hopeful that this will alleviate some of those concerns that lead to friendlier interaction so people don’t have that experience where they’ll get those butterflies in their stomach.”
The county prosecutor, a Democrat, says a taillight issue is usually a pretty cheap fix, less than $25. He adds that, in 2019, 100,000 people got their driver’s licenses suspended and oftentimes because they didn’t have the money to pay fines.
“I’m proud to say that we’ve reduced that number to 84,000 suspensions here in Marion County, which demonstrates our commitment to helping people restore their licenses but also trying to come up with creative ways to help people on the front end so they don’t have to go through the criminal justice system,” Mears said.
Overall, Mears says he wants help improve the relationship between the community and the criminal justice system as a whole, which often begins at a traffic stop.
“So, we thought to ourselves, ‘Well, if these traffic stops take place between law enforcement and community, if we can somehow make this a positive experience for both sides, I think both parties are going to walk away feeling better about the job that they’re doing,'” Mears said.
The campaign will continue until all gift cards are gone.