Denver police are handing out gift certificates to auto parts stores instead of 'fix-it' tickets
via Pexels

Imagine if you were driving around, saw the flashing lights of a cop car behind you, and didn't immediately think you were in trouble. What if your first thought was that someone was here to help instead of giving you a ticket.

That'd be pretty great, right?

Police in Denver, Colorado have a new program designed to improve public safety as well as the relationship between the police and those they serve and it's something everyone can get behind. Instead of issuing tickets, officers will now have the option to hand out $25 gift cards in situations where people are pulled over for minor "fix-it" violations.


The program is a partnership with Advance Auto Parts which donated 100 $25 gift cards to the police department.

"Working together is how we create stronger communities, and stronger communities are safer communities," Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said during the announcement.

The Denver Police Department has already begun handing out the gift cards and the response has been very positive for all involved. It has to be a lot more rewarding for a police officer to shock someone with a gift card instead of ruining their day with a fix-it ticket.

"We've done this already. One of our traffic officers has pulled some folks over to give them warnings on defective vehicles, handed them a card, instead of a ticket, and the smile that these folks have, not only the motorist but also the officer," Chief Pazen said.

"So, Advance Auto Parts' donation not only helps us get greater compliance with the motoring public, but it also helps us build and strengthen relationships with our community," the Chief continued.

Advance Auto Parts sees the program as a way to improve public safety as well.

"I think the importance of ensuring that the vehicles are safe going down the road prevents other things from happening," a representative from the company said.

It's unclear whether the program will last once the 100 gift cards are given away.

Let's face it, the big reason that many people drive with a broken head or tail light is they may not have the money to fix their car, but they still have to get from point A to point B. By giving them a gift card, police help to lift them up instead of turning them into criminals.

A fix-it ticket that doesn't get taken care of on time in some states can cost people a few hundred dollars. In some places, it can even lead to jail time.

The partnership between the Denver Police and Advance Auto Parts is a great reminder that protecting and serving the public can sometimes mean giving them a leg up instead of issuing a fine or worse. Let's hope the program continues in Denver and beyond and can help heal the frayed relationship between citizens and law enforcement.

True

Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

Keep Reading Show less
via Matt Radick / Flickr

Joe Biden reversed Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military earlier this year, allowing the entire LGBTQ community to serve for the first time.

Anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. military goes as far back as 1778 when Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin was convicted at court-martial on charges of sodomy and perjury. The military would go on to make sodomy a crime in 1920 and worthy of dishonorable discharge.

In 1949 the Department of Defense standardized its anti-LGBT regulations across the military, declaring: "Homosexual personnel, irrespective of sex, should not be permitted to serve in any branch of the Armed Forces in any capacity, and prompt separation of known homosexuals from the Armed Forces is mandatory."

Keep Reading Show less