An Oklahoma police department began a new initiative this holiday season to feed the hungry and encourage offenders to pay off fines at the same time.
The Collinsville Police Department decided to hold the Food for Fines Program to give back to the community over the holidays and make sure everyone can begin the new year with a blank slate. The idea is simple: Donate food and pay less for fines like tickets or clearing warrants.
“I’m hoping this will help the community on just about every level. One, we’re going to be providing food to those who may not be able to provide meals for themselves during the season, and on top of that, the people who’ve gotten tickets or warrants,” Collinsville Police Chief Matthew Burke told Fox23 News.
From November 20 to December 20, Collinsville police subtracted $5 off tickets for every nonperishable food item donated. The food was then sent to food banks to feed the community over the holiday season.
“Everyone is saving every dollar they can for Christmas gifts and things like that, and everyone makes mistakes, so if they’ve received a ticket rather than having to dip into their Christmas money to pay for that ticket they can go buy some food for the needy and get that ticket cleared up and do it much cheaper than they would have and we get to help out the community with their help,” Burke explained.
He also said those with outstanding warrants can clear them and get back into the police’s good graces by making donations.
“When you have a warrant on you, you really are kind of, you know like the old saying, an outlaw, like if your car gets stolen or something you can’t go report it because you have a warrant and you’ll be arrested, so it really does kind of diminish the resources that you get to utilize that the community provides, so this will get them an opportunity to really clear off some of these warrants that would have been much more expensive otherwise and get them back in to where they can utilize the police the way they deserve to be able to use them,” Burke said.
Police hope the program will leave more money in people’s pockets and let them start 2023 on the right foot.