New Bedford Police and Patriots team up for Lights On! program — first in New England

FOXBORO — New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira is on his way to Gillette Stadium today to meet with Patriots owner Robert Kraft to announce a new initiative in the police department — the first in New England.

The New England Patriots, New England Revolution and New Bedford Police Department will hold a press conference announcing the launch of Lights On! a community-driven program with the mission to heal relationships between communities and law enforcement agencies.

New Bedford is the first New England partner to bring this innovative program to the market thanks to the donation from the New England Patriots and New England Revolution, according to a media advisory from the Patriots organization.

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Under the Lights On! program, New Bedford officers on traffic stops can provide a voucher for a free repair on mechanical problems with the vehicle rather than citing the driver. Some common mechanical violations include burned-out light bulbs, broken turn signals, etc. The partnership is in conjunction with the following auto centers:

  • · Joe and Perky’s Service Station - 2907 Acushnet Ave.

  • · Cottage Street Motors Inc. - 589 Cottage St.

  • · Luzo Auto Center - 19 County St.

“The Lights On! program is a way to build relationships between police departments and the communities they serve,” said Don Samuels, CEO and Founder of Lights On! in the media advisory. “Instead of punishing drivers for broken lights, we can fix the mechanical issue and mitigate what often becomes a downward spiral for community members in need.”

Lights On! voucher helps get car repaired instead of driver cited.
Lights On! voucher helps get car repaired instead of driver cited.

“We are giving officers a new tool on their duty belt that creates a positive interaction and improve community-police relations during these tense times,” Samuels said.

“This program will be able to afford our officers the ability to transform typically negative interactions into positive ones,” said Oliveira in the release. “This is a great way for our officers to build trust with the community and engage them in positive interaction. At times, routine traffic stops have the potential to become adversarial, and we’d like to lessen the possibility of that.

“On behalf of the department and the New Bedford community, we are very appreciative of the Kraft Family, the New England Patriots organization, and the Lights On foundation for agreeing to partner with us on this worth-while opportunity,” Oliveira stated.

“This program will complement our community policing philosophy that has built trust in our neighborhoods and has dramatically lowered crime across the City,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “I am grateful to the NFL, the Patriots, and the Kraft family for their thoughtful support.”

This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: New Bedford Police, Patriots team up for Lights On! community program