Traffic safety programs form an integral component of the effective, comprehensive law enforcement operation. Unfortunately, not all law enforcement executives recognize this important fact. Other law enforcement issues consistently compete with traffic safety for law enforcement's attention and too often, traffic safety initiatives take a "back seat" to what are perceived as more important programs, especially in smaller agencies.
I strongly disagree with the back seat perception. Many successful traffic initiatives have resulted not only in reductions in crashes, but in additional positive results that benefit our communities in many areas, including crime reduction. With the spring and summer months upon us, I am announcing today that the Riverside Police Department is renewing and jumpstarting our traffic enforcement education program.
There is not a single day that goes by that a resident, business owner, or visitor to the Village does not contact the police in reference to a parking problem, traffic enforcement issue or other related traffic endeavors that they feel they should inform the department about that would greatly increase pedestrian safety. The Riverside Police Department has listened to our residents, and over the last nine months, has gathered data that will help us launch this new focused approach to overall traffic and pedestrian safety enforcement.
After meeting with my command staff and patrol supervisors, we have collectively come up with an action plan that includes: making traffic safety a core value, providing necessary training, equipment and staff to fulfill the responsibility of providing traffic safety to the public and preparing and releasing to the public reports on all traffic enforcement programs.
Please look for us as the Riverside Police Department will begin the intensified traffic enforcement program immediately. Citizen involvement is essential. With this in mind, please notify the Riverside Police Department's traffic supervisor, Sergeant Bill Gutschick, of any areas within the village that you would like to see increased enforcement. Sergeant Gutschick can be reached at email@example.com. Slow down – it does safe lives.
Thomas Weitzel is chief of police in Riverside