The speed zone

Police department takes new approach in slowing traffic

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Even though Pam Thompson lived across the street from Sunset Elementary School, she said she walked her 7-year-old daughter there every day because she feared a speeding car might strike her child.

"Most drivers are considerate, but there are always one or two that are driving too fast," Thompson said. "Honestly, that's why I walked her across the street everyday I wanted to make sure she was safe.

"That intersection is very busy. I will not allow her to walk across (Green Street) by herself. It's just not safe."

Thompson now lives on Taylor Street, which moved her only three blocks farther from Sunset Elementary School, but she says she still won't allow her daughter, Audrey, to walk to school in the mornings. Thompson drives her to school.

"I drive her to school so I can see her walk in the door," she said. "That way I know she gets to school safely everyday."

There are too many drivers that are not driving the speed limit for Thompson to let her daughter walk unattended to school, and it's a problem, Thompson said.

The Craig Police Department has a similar view, and has added a new focus to its patrols: Directed traffic enforcement. Directed traffic enforcement consists of multiple police cars assigned to a specific, usually residential, area to enforce speed limit compliance.

The tactic was put into action for the first time Friday near East Elementary School, and saw immediate results, Craig Police Capt. Jerry DeLong said.

"We figured that since it was a Friday, and was the beginning of spring break, that traffic would be light," DeLong said. "But we had immediate action the officers pulled over the first three cars that passed them."

Four police vehicles three marked vehicles and one unmarked were used to check the speed of the area's traffic and pull over speeders.

Speeding is a problem in Craig, and even with the raising of the speed limit on Victory Way to 30 mph from 25 mph two months ago, many drivers are still not obeying the law, DeLong said.

"This is something we saw a need for in the community," DeLong said of the new operation. "We do directed traffic enforcements to make sure people are following the traffic laws."

The Craig Police Department is making the directed traffic enforcement a permanent part of its patrols. The multi-vehicle patrols will be set up throughout Craig at random intervals.

"We'll put these patrols wherever we decide to set up," DeLong said. "We'll have spot checks throughout the community."

Thompson said she approves of the department's traffic control initiative.

"I think the (extra patrols) are very valuable to the community," she said. "Any concerned parent would be worried about the safety of their child."

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