Columbus State partners in new city-county safety program
Campus News | Wednesday, May 19, 2021
(Pictured above left, Assistant Professor Ian Andrews speaks at the Project Taillight news conference on May 18 in the Delaware Hall Automotive Lab as Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein looks on. Above right, Andrews is interviewed by WCMH-TV.)
Columbus State is part of a county-wide pilot project known as Project Taillight. The program aims to assist Columbus-area residents by providing free repair services for broken or burned-out headlights, taillights, turn signals, and license plate lights on their vehicles. Franklin County residents in households with annual incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level are eligible to participate.
Automotive Technology students are a crucial part of the program, which will be held occasionally at events around Franklin County. Students who volunteer to repair the lights will receive a $100 stipend. “Part of the mission of Columbus State is to serve the community,” said Ian Andrews, assistant professor of Engineering & Transportation Technologies. “This program, which assists needs-based car owners with safety-related repairs, is a modest way we can give back that appears to have a big impact for the folks coming through the program.”
Andrews, along with Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, spoke at a news conference on May 18 on the Columbus Campus where the program was unveiled. “We know that non-violent crime is often linked to poverty and lack of economic opportunity, and the City Attorney’s Office remains committed to finding creative ways to reduce these avoidable interactions between neighbors and law enforcement,” said Klein. “Our hope is that this program will help keep our neighbors safe and reduce traffic violations for small issues like a broken taillight or turn signal, giving police officers even more time to focus on more urgent, violent crime in our community.”
As a pilot program, Project Taillight is scheduled to run through the end of the year. The $50,000 budget comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) sub-award from Franklin County Board of Commissioners’ Office of Justice Policy and Programs, and a $25,000 contribution from the Columbus Department of Public Safety general fund.
To participate in the Project Taillight program, residents must pre-register through the Columbus City Attorney’s Office following the eligibility screening. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the full 10-minute news conference recorded by the city’s CTV cable channel.