BPD Wrote 231 Tickets In August

Published 5:00 am Monday, September 22, 2003

Summer proved to be no vacation for Brookhaven Police as trafficlaw enforcement kept officers busy during that time.

Statistics for May through August showed police issued 1,561traffic citations. That total was down over 400 from the sameperiod last year when officers handed out 1,967 tickets.

While discussing renewed enforcement efforts and the importanceof officer visibility, Police Chief Pap Henderson said the numberof citations issued is governed by a variety of factors.

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“Traffic is just a percentage of what we have to do,” Hendersonsaid.

Henderson mentioned officers responding to accidents,disturbances and complaints, and working other crimes that have tobe done in addition to traffic enforcement. During the summer, thenumber of citizens out and about and department staffing issuesmust also be considered.

“There’s a lot of reasons for that,” Henderson said the numberof tickets issued.

By far the highest single category for traffic tickets isspeeding.

“It fluctuates, but the percentage is basically the same,”Henderson said about the number of speeding tickets.

Statistics show 231 speeding tickets issued in August, which wasthe highest monthly total of May-August 2002 or 2003. With theexception of May 2002, which had 92 speeding tickets, the number ofspeeding citations was in the triple digits each month.

Regarding the August 2003 total, Henderson discussed gettingcomplaints from aldermen and citizens about speeding in some areasof town. The chief said officers concentrate on certain areas whenthere are complaints.

“We flood the daylights out of that area and get everythingunder control,” Henderson said.

Recently-targeted areas include Behan Road, Chickasaw andChippewa Streets, Halbert Heights Road, South First Street,Industrial Park Road near the overpass, North Hamilton and MainStreets.

“We’re going to continue to target them,” Henderson said.

With school back in session, safety around educationalfacilities will be another focus, Henderson said.

“Any street where there’s a school, we’re targeting them,” thechief said. “Visibility is the most important thing in thoseareas.”

In addition to speeding, Henderson said other traffic areas thatare getting increased attention include running stop signs andhandicapped parking violations.

Statistics show 160 running stop sign citations issued lastsummer compared to 139 issued during the same four months thisyear.

Five handicap parking violations were issued last summer andonly one this summer.

“That’s something I’m not satisfied with,” Henderson said.”Those areas will be targeted, and citizens will have to understandthat.”

Henderson said his is working to be the best.

Whether a complaint is related to traffic or another issue,Henderson said citizens can help by calling his department.

“We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Hendersonsaid.

Henderson said some citizens contact their aldermen with trafficconcerns, but it can be up several weeks before those complaintsare relayed to the chief at a city board meeting. The chief saidcitizens will receive a faster response by contacting hisdepartment directly.

“We can act on it right then,” Henderson said.