SBPD to crack down
Selicia Kennedy-Ross, Staff Writer
San Bernardino County Sun
Article Launched:05/09/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT
SAN BERNARDINO - Speed demons might want to slow down, and reckless drivers might want to think twice before getting behind the wheel.
The San Bernardino Police Department has received more than $1 million in grant funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety and is using it to prevent traffic crashes and crack down on unsafe drivers, Police Chief Michael Billdt said Tuesday at a news conference at police headquarters.
The Police Department secured the $1.08 million state grant in October. It is the third grant the department has received from the Office of Traffic Safety and the largest.
The grant allowed the Police Department's traffic unit to purchase five new fully equipped motorcycles at $21,000 each and a state-of-the-art radar trailer, and hire a sergeant and four new motorcycle officers for about $800,000, Sgt. Jarrod Burguan said.
The $13,000 computerized radar trailer detects the speeds of passing cars and displays them, but it can also calculate the number of cars passing and how many are traveling over the speed limit. That data is then analyzed by the traffic unit.
The trailer can electronically provide data, thus freeing an officer who would normally have to stay at an intersection for hours to collect it.
"It will tell us if there is a problem at that intersection and when it is occurring so that we can send patrols out," Burguan said. "Hopefully, it will save us some man hours."
Increased patrols will also be placed at problematic intersections. In addition, police will conduct at least eight DUI checkpoints this year.
The traffic unit will be cracking down on red-light violators, those driving without a license or driving under the influence, and motorists whose cars are equipped with illegal street-racing equipment, Billdt said.
In addition to the motorcycles, the unit also provided traffic cops with new citation devices that have turned ticketpads into a thing of the past.
The devices, which resemble hand-held personal organizers, come equipped with a magnetic card-swipe mechanism that allows an officer to simply swipe a motorist's license and instantly access their information. The devices can also print out the citation from a small printer carried on the bike, eliminating the need for paper notepads.
"They let us go from swipe to ticket in less than a minute," motorcycle Officer Robert Snyder said.
According to police reports, San Bernardino had a total of 1,135 fatal and injury crashes in 2005, and 1,419 victims were killed or injured in those collisions.
There were also a total of 235 hit-and-runs that caused injuries in 2005, but so far that number is already down 14 percent for the first quarter of 2007.
Mayor Pat Morris also spoke at the news conference, calling the grant a "great boon to law enforcement and street safety."