Franklin police officer Alex Eckert speaks to a motorist during a traffic stop on U.S. 31 in July 2020. Daily Journal File Photo
Franklin police officer Alex Eckert speaks to a motorist during a traffic stop on U.S. 31 in July 2020. Daily Journal File Photo
A local police department is taking part in a unique initiative to reduce minor ticket infractions and promote road safety.

The Franklin Police Department is taking part in “No Ticket. Let’s Fix It.,” an initiative made possible through a partnership between the Central Indiana Police Foundation and Jiffy Lube of Indiana.

Drivers who are stopped for minor vehicle violations — including improper headlights/ taillights and non-functioning brake lights — could receive a $25 Jiffy Lube gift card to fund fixing the issue rather than receiving a ticket or fine, according to Jiffy Lube.

Twenty police departments in Central Indiana are taking part in the program. Jiffy Lube has donated nearly $300,000 to participating agencies across Central Indiana to provide officers with almost 12,000 gift cards, officials said.

The initiative first began in February 2021 with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Steve Sanner, the president and owner of Jiffy Lube of Indiana had the heard of an auto parts company in Florida that did something similar, and thought it should be brought to Indiana, he said.

“I thought we could do that year-round, all the time,” Sanner said. “It’s a cool idea to foster community policing and better relationships between police and communities.”

Sanner, who is on the board of the Central Indiana Police Foundation, brought the idea to the foundation. Foundation officials helped reach out to police departments across the state to see if they were interested in taking part, he said.

The goal of “No Ticket. Let’s Fix It.” is to create happy endings as officers are able to help solve people’s problems. There are trust issues between communities and police officers, and this is a way to help build trust, Sanner said.

“I want to see if we can really make it a game-changer and a way for people to learn to appreciate what police officers do — to serve and protect,” Sanner said.

Franklin police decided to take part because the initiative fit into the department’s community partnership culture. Department officials also liked how it can help solve problems for the people road officers pull over, said Scott Summers, deputy chief.

“To be able to take an interaction that might tend to be a negative and turn it into a positive interaction with the public, and then also above that, to even help them solve a problem that they might not otherwise have the means to do themselves is a great thing to get behind,” Summers said. So far, the department has given out several gift cards as part of the initiative. The reaction of the public has been overwhelmingly positive, with some people saying they were shocked to receive the gift cards, Summers said.

“No Ticket. Let’s Fix It.” is expected to be in effect indefinitely. The initiative is currently only taking place in central Indiana, but Sanner hopes other Jiffy Lubes will pick up the idea and take it nationwide, he said.

Sanner owns 51 Jiffy Lubes in Indiana, but there’s more than 2,100 locations nationwide. There are two Jiffy Lube locations in Greenwood and one in Whiteland.

“I hope we can lead by example,” Sanner said.

Sanner also hopes it will spur other businesses to think of other ways to help build trust between police and communities, he said.