Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Backlash to "It's not just Speed Enforcement, it's a paradigm shift towards a Safer Community".

Traffic & speed control has been an issue in this community for quite a while and the readers of this blog know that it is one that I and the other members of the Dunwoody City Council take very seriously. As I reported in a blog entry from last week, I see this as a paradigm shift towards a Safer Community, a new reality that Dunwoody is a city where the rules and laws are to be obeyed.

Tonight we are seeing some backlash to the effort to improve our quality of living in a CBS46 news story on the Dunwoody Police Department writing 850 tickets in the month of April. If you do the math, that comes out to about 21 tickets per officer for the month, or less than 1 per day per officer.

These traffic efforts were based on requests from the citizens for enforcement of the law and I am guessing that the city issues hundreds of warnings as well. The newly created Cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek had a similar reaction when they started their PD. When you are used to almost zero traffic enforcement, it makes some people happy to see the Dunwoody PD and some people are not happy that we are now enforcing the traffic laws.

Video News clip for CBS46


Paula Caldarella said...

I, for one, have no problem with the number of tickets our police force has written. It is nice to see a police force in our town after being ignored by Dekalb County for so long. And yes, Sandy Springs went through the same issues early on. I have a co-worker that received a $400 speeding ticket from a SS police officer on GA 400. But, guess what? Sandy Springs has seen a drop in their crime rate. Criminals will not want to do business in areas where they know an active and proactive police force exist.

Dunwoody Police Watch Group said...

Hilarious! I for one am glad to see the police out handing out speeding tickets to people flying through our area, but some of the petty stuff is beyond the scope of what citizens wanted. Ticketing a guy for not going quick enough when the light turns green? It seems that my forethought of how this pd would act towards our citizens was not far from what has happened. It is apparent now; most of the crime is over by the mall, many tickets have been given out and no telling how many duis. Now dont get all over me about duis, I know doing it is not good, but it is a huge revenue piece for the cities. I got some info that there was a notification to residents over in Dunwoody North last week that there had been something like 4 homes broken into and residents have not seen really much patrol. How about not watching to see if someone punches the gas at a green light and instead patrol the neighborhoods? Oh thats right, not much revenue on residential streets. As I said, be careful what you wish for folks! As of this past, is not listing any crime since 5/22 and the crier's police blog has gone from reporting about what crime happened in the last week to reporting on cops on bikes and their torch relay for Special Olympics. How objective. Thanks CBS46 for reporting.

Paula Caldarella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

Good Morning John,

The clip you shared reminded me why I do not watch broadcast TV. I was especially annoyed after the man complaining about sign visibility, ticketed for failing to stop at a stop sign, next showed an obscured speed limit sign. What was that meant to prove that is relevant to the man's complaint? Was the stop sign where he was pulled over obscured? If so, why wasn't it shown? I won't dispute there are signs that are sometimes obscured. When I see them on my scooter, if it can be safely done, I pull over and clear the obstruction. If not, I send an email to Richard or Jada.

I can't speak to the particulars of the three disgruntled drivers, I can speak to my pleasure at seeing speeding and stop signal laws enforced. I can't count the number of times I've had to avoid a driver who failed to notice me in an intersection as they rolled through a stop; often on their mobile phone. I've had people ride far too close when they weren't satisfied with following me at safe distance, at the speed limit or slightly above it. I was on Womack yesterday and someone passed me over solid yellow lines when I was going 37 according to my speedometer. They had to have been doing at least 50 when they went by me. I can understand passing in a hurry, if it is safe and at an allowed place, but they continued at that speed and I didn't see them again until I got to the traffic light at Tilly Mill. They were sitting there, caught at the light, their maneuver as useless as it was dangerous.

For my part, I hope the police continue in this vein, giving both residents and visitors pause if they are in the habit of rolling through stops and treating speed limits as quaint suggestions.

It would be terrific if the many drivers I see here who treat the roads as their own private paths would change their behavior so they don't get pulled over. Should this ever occur, I will be much pleased and feel considerably safer on the roads, especially on my scooter. Human nature being what it is, I won't be holding my breath, and the police will continue to write many tickets.

Kim Gokce said...

There are many ways of looking at the way police focus their resources. What I think we have to also consider is the cost/benefit ratio of some of these choices.

For example, the note above about neighborhood patrols is well taken - we'd all like to feel greater security when it comes to our property and our families. But is this where we are most threatened?

In terms of personal threats, the automobiles and the roads where we use them are a much greater threat to us than a burglar. I am not suggesting that the police should abandon neighborhood patrolling, I'm simply suggesting that the best public safety return on tax payer dollars will be found in creating safer road travel.

Besides encouraging better driving habits and safer roads, aggressive traffic enforcement creates a high profile for the police in an area and this can have a deterrent affect on would be criminals. Do you really want to commit a crime in a community were rules of the road are strictly enforced and the police seem to "be everywhere" on the roadways?

Kudos to Dunwoody Police for "making some noise" and increasing personal and property safety by doing so.

Joe Hirsch said...

On the youtube page link for this video, "grinnis" commented: "The guy who got a ticket is 'not from this area' well too bad... Stay out of Dunwoody next time buddy."

Let's hope this is not the prevailing sentiment from others in our city. Very sad.

Cerebration said...

My son got a speeding ticket from the DeKalb Co. police - and guess how much it cost? $189... how bout that?

I don't think we'll be safe again on the roads until we outlaw talking on cell phones. I can't even count the number of times I've nearly been wiped out by someone weaving all over the road jabbering away...

Paula Caldarella said...

Councilman Tom Taylor has a few items you might like to read on the City of Dunwoody blog concerning this issue.

It's under the Police Services tab.