Des Moines Organization Changing Headlights and Police-Community Relations

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DES MOINES, Iowa-- As the Des Moines fog darkened Friday's skies it also placed the spotlight on what drivers often take for granted.  "Your headlights are there so you can light the way you are driving, your tail lights are there so people can see you when you are driving," said Sergeant Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department.

Unfortunately Izaah Knox, Executive Director of Urban Dreams, said finding out you are in need of one can be costly to your wallet and in how you view police.  "A $30 tail light that you can't fix turns into $150 fine and you are having a negative interaction with law enforcement."

To help change that, Urban Dreams along with the Des Moines Police Department, O'Halloran International Trucking and NAPA Auto Parts are back together for the 2nd Annual Community Vehicle Checkup Saturday at Des Moines North High School.  Knox said, "Anybody that has a burnt-out headlight, tail light, dome light, anything like that, we will change those out all free of charge."

Saving money for drivers, and hoping to secure a positive relationship with local law enforcement.  Parizek said, "We want people to welcome us into their neighborhood and we want to be able to drive around without them feeling we are scrutinizing their every move."

Organizers say many attendees' first thoughts may be pessimistic , "Are they going to give me a ticket? Are they really just going to fix my tail lights and give me a hot dog, bag of chips and a pop?" asked Knox."

A year ago, Knox said changing lights helped to change a woman's life.  "There was a lady that came in and almost all of her lights were out and she couldn`t afford to get it done so she never drove at night.  It almost brought tears to her eyes to think now she can drive at night."

Knox says they have enough resources to serve five-hundred vehicles all in an effort to light up Des Moines with positivity.  He said, "Building community, having good positive interactions with each other, the police and business and industry."

The event in the North High School parking lot will go from 8 am to noon or until they have reached five-hundred vehicles, whichever comes first.  It is also kid friendly and will have food, soft drinks and music.

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