Chief John Seto says they're out to curb dangerous driving. "We get all kinds of complaints from citizens and from researching crash data," he says. "They vary from speeding to running stop signs to cut-throughs in neighborhoods to trucks not obeying 'no trucks' signs to distracted driving and aggressive driving." The police stepped up patrols starting in January, and "we'll do something every week for the rest of the [fiscal] year" in June. "The manner of deployment depends on the time of day--for example before or after school, or at rush hour."
All councilmembers voted for the overtime except mayor John Hieftje--"It was a good idea, but I thought we could've waited until we had a solid plan," he says. Ward Two's Sally Hart Petersen, however, believes the time was right for more traffic enforcement.
"We have aggressive driving, and people are not getting called out on it," says the candidate for mayor. "The pedestrian safety ordinance had a feel-good component to it, but it didn't work. Data showed pedestrian crashes skyrocketed. It's distracted driving, it's social media, that's doing it."
Seto says education is crucial to making the ordinance work. "The officers have the discretion to take in the totality of the situation and take appropriate action. Sometimes that's a ticket; sometimes that's a warning. It's an education so [drivers] know what they're doing wrong.
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