Champaign police increasing patrols for speeding
By Steve Bauer
Thursday April 5, 2007
CHAMPAIGN – Police in Champaign are handing out more tickets for speeding.
Champaign police have two additional patrol cars working on speed enforcement, in addition to the regular patrols and normal traffic details.
"So far this week, there have been 27 citations above normal," said Sgt. Dave Griffet, traffic enforcement supervisor.
He said officers have written 28 other speeding tickets through normal traffic enforcement. The extra enforcement comes through officers hired back with grant money.
In October, the Champaign Police Department got a grant of $34,177 from the Illinois Department of Transportation to hire back off-duty officers for special patrols focusing on speeding motorists. That equates to roughly 720 hours of extra traffic enforcement for six months of the 12-month period for the grant.
During warmer weather, more pedestrians, bicycles, children and motorcyclists are on the streets, he said. Police urge drivers to use extra caution.
Griffet said the grant is intended to help Champaign police respond to complaints and reduce accidents and fatalities.
Champaign normally has up to nine officers a day assigned to traffic enforcement, morning, afternoon and evening.
"The federal grant allows us more slots," Griffet said. "By doing that we can bring back two officers for extra traffic enforcement."
Champaign implemented a neighborhood traffic concerns report form through the city's Web site, www.ci.champaign.il.us, in which citizens can point to areas where there are problems with speeding, school zone safety, pedestrian traffic issues or other problems. After going to the main Web site, go to Public Safety, then Police Department, then the Neighborhood Traffic Concerns Report Form.
Griffet said four areas have been identified as problem zones, including Windsor Road, Neil Street, Prospect Avenue and Marketview Drive. He said records show higher numbers of crashes at the intersections of Neil Street and Windsor Avenue, Prospect Avenue and Church Street, Mattis and Bradley avenues and Marketview Drive and Prospect Avenue, so many of the extra traffic patrols will be in those areas.
Another area of concern about speeding might be along Curtis Road, where the road is being widened, he said.
While officers will be issuing more tickets, the purpose is to lower the number of crashes and potential for injury or death in high-traffic areas. It's not just a way for the city to increase revenue, he said.
Griffet said he has not yet seen any less speeding, but it's too early to tell if they are getting the message.
"I think that, over time, we'll see a reduction," Griffet said.
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