Press Releases

 

   
FFld Wins Traffic Award  
Fairfield TRIAD  
Public Service Announcement  
Motorcycle Message  
DUI Checkpoint  
Click It Or Ticket  
Law Enforcement Challenge  
   
   
     
   

 

Traffic Safety Award October 2008

The Fairfield Police Department placed second in the 2007 Connecticut Law Enforcement Challenge, a statewide competition in which police agencies compete against one an other for creativity and over all effectiveness in  traffic safety programs.

Fairfield had it’s Traffic enforcement programs judged against other law enforcement agencies of similar size, Manchester Police Department took first place. 

This is the second year Fairfield police showcased there traffic efforts such as Operation Safe Driver , Operation Living Streets and DUI education programs .

The programs are then submitted to Washington D.C. where 400 hundred agencies are judged nationally by the International Chiefs of Police Association in Washington D.C.

Fairfield was the only Connecticut agency showcased on a national level for it’s “Operation Living Streets” program making this years “Nifty 50”, one of the top fifty traffic programs in the country. “Operation living streets” is program in which officer’s hand out fliers to passing motorists reminding them of the neighborhood traffic issue and warning them of follow up enforcement.

Fairfield placed third last year in the statewide competition.

 

NOVEMBER 08, 2007

Fairfield Police Department to Intensify Enforcement of Safety Belt & Child Safety Seat Laws

 Fairfield Police Department Launches “Click It or Ticket” to Help Save Lives – Day and Night

 More than 15,000 passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes between the nighttime hours of 6:00 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. during 2005, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – and 59% of those passenger vehicle occupants killed were NOT wearing their seat belts at the time of the fatal crash.

 The proportion of unbuckled deaths at night is considerably higher than the nearly as alarming 44% of passenger vehicle occupants who were not wearing their seat belts and were killed during daytime hours across the nation that same year.

 That’s why the Fairfield Police Department announced today they are joining the state and local law enforcement and highway safety officials during mid-November through Thanksgiving Holiday weekend to launch an aggressive national “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement mobilization to crack down on low seat belt use and to reduce highway fatalities – with a new emphasis this year on convincing more motorists to buckle up – day and night.

 Clearly more drivers at night than during the day are taking the attitude that “it will never happen to me,” but the risk of a fatal crash actually goes up significantly at  night.  Beginning mid-November, there will be increased enforcement across the nation to ensure that all passengers, in all vehicles, are buckled up – day and night.

 Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.  In 2005, 77% of passenger vehicle occupants in a serious crash who were buckled up, survived the crash.  When worn correctly, seat belts have proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45%, and by 60% in pickup trucks, SUV’s and mini-vans.

 Yet nearly one in five Americans (19% nationally) still fail to regularly wear their seat belts when driving or riding in a motor vehicle according to NHTSA’s observational seat belt studies.

 Stepped-up law enforcement activities will be conducted during the national “Click It or Ticket” enforcement mobilization, which runs November 12 - 25.  The mobilization is being supported by a projected $10 million in paid national advertising, and additional advertising in each state, to encourage all motorists, but especially motorists at night, to always buckle up.

 Seat belts clearly save lives.  But unfortunately, too many folks still need a tough reminder.  That’s why law enforcement will be out in force buckling down on those who are not buckled up.  Wearing your seat belt costs you nothing, but the cost for not wearing it certainly will.  So unless you want to risk a ticket, or worse – your life, please remember to buckle up day and night – “Click It or Ticket”.

 For more information, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/link/ciot.htm.

 

SOME SEATBELT FACTS

Every hour someone dies in America simply because they didn’t buckle up.  On average, a death occurs every 13 minutes from injuries due to motor vehicle crashes.

        In 2006 Connecticut Department of Transportation traffic records data indicate there were 307 fatal crashes in which 325 person were killed.

 ·       About 5 out of every 10 passenger vehicle occupants killed in Connecticut in 2005 were not wearing a safety belt.  At least 87 of the 184 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2005 in Connecticut were not using safety belts.

 ·       Of the 1045 passenger vehicle occupants killed on State roadways in the past five years, 564 or 54% were not buckled up – at least half of these occupants could have survived had they used a safety belt.

 ·       Failure to use a safety belt in a crash was highest among persons ages 21-24 almost 60%.  Between 2002 and 2006, 151 people in this age group have lost their lives on Connecticut’s roadways.

 ·       Safety belt use in nighttime fatal crashes is lower than in overall fatal crashes – an estimated 7 out of 10 passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (8:00 pm to 4:00 am) in 2005 were not using a safety belt.

 ·       A safety-belted driver has a better chance of maintaining control of the vehicle during and immediately following a crash, protecting passengers and others on the road.

 ·       In fatal crashes, 75% of passenger car occupants who were completely ejected from the vehicle were killed.  Safety belts are effective in preventing total ejection:  only 1% of the occupants reported to have been using restraints were completely ejected, compared with 22% of the unrestrained occupants.

 ·       When crash victims are unbuckled their medical treatment costs are on average 50% higher than those who are securely buckled.

 ·       Research has found that lap/shoulder safety belts, when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury for a front-seat passenger by 45%.

 ·       Airbags, combined with lap/shoulder safety belts, offer the most effective safety protection available today for passenger vehicle occupants.

 ·       In 2006, Connecticut experienced 100 alcohol-related fatalities.

 ·       You are legally intoxicated in Connecticut with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher.

 ·       If you under the age of 21, you are legally intoxicated at a BAC of .02 or higher.

 ·       Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest, Mobilization is December 1, through December 31, 2007.

 
Police Department's Award Reflects Hard Work

 
The Police Department will be honored in Westbrook today for taking third place in the 2006 Connecticut Law Enforcement Challenge.

The annual competition, co-sponsored by the state Department of Transportation and the Connecticut Chiefs of Police Association, recognizes and rewards the best overall traffic safety programs.

"I'm very proud," said Sgt. Joshua Zabin. "I'm very proud of the fact our department is out there conducting traffic enforcement and over the last three years, we've shown a decline in accidents, have increased the number of DUI checkpoints and have a better relationship with the community, partly because of our educational programs in the high schools and colleges." Although Fairfield didn't earn the top spot against fellow departments exceeding 100-plus members, it still has the opportunity going into today's awards luncheon of winning a Harley Davidson police motorcycle. Chiefs from the different departments that entered the competition will be given keys to the motorcycle but only one will start the engine.

Police Chief David Peck, a motorcycle enthusiast, said the department's winning the motorcycle "would be a little bonus" on top of being recognized for its law enforcement efforts. He added that the motorcycle would allow the department to expand enforcement by using an additional motorcycle officer. The number of trained motorcycle officers exceeds the number of police motorcycles four -- the department has.

"There are several certified motorcycle officers we could assign," said Peck, if the department won the bike.

The Connecticut Law Enforcement Challenge, according to CLEC literature, is an innovative program that provides an avenue to stimulate traffic law enforcement in any police or sheriff agency. The program targets three major traffic safety priorities: occupant protection, impaired driving and speeding.

Zabin said nearly 30 law enforcement agencies competed in the CLEC and noted that program judges look at "the quality of what you're doing, are you going out in the community and making a difference, and creativity, as far as enforcement."

Zabin added that the judges also take into account the presentation of traffic safety books the departments submit. Part of the application process asks for information regarding enforcement activity during any three months of 2006. In this section, Fairfield officials said there were 275 citations for safety belt violation, 19 for child passenger safety violations and 420 for speeding and 51 arrests for impaired driving. There were also four driving under the influence special enforcement efforts throughout 2006, two of which were checkpoints, according to the application.

The traffic safety book the Fairfield Police Department submitted for the competition also lists a number of efforts to combat excessive speed, including laser and radar enforcement and "Operation Safe Driver" and "Living Streets Initiative." Operation Safe Driver involves utilization of the Mobile Command Unit in areas of town where there is a heavy flow of traffic, according to Capt. Robert Comers. An officer in an unmarked car up the road will notify officers around the command center of drivers committing various violations, whether it's speeding, driving without a seat belt, talking on a cell phone while driving or even not having a front marker plate. When the violator reaches the area of the command center, they get flagged down to pull over.

Comers said the stops "bring an awareness to the public that the police are out there enforcing motor vehicle laws."

"You'll drive more carefully than if you never saw a police officer," said Comers. "When we're out there it's quite a presence and that's what we want. We want people to know we are out there enforcing the law."

The Living Streets Initiative educates the public that pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic must share roadways where people live. If a certain neighborhood is found to be having serious problems with traffic, "we will set up in the roadway and hand out fliers to passing motorists reminding them of the posted speed limits and warning them to slow down.

"Our ultimate goal, with all of these different programs, is to change the behavior of the motorist," said Zabin. Initiatives like Living Streets have made a difference. During October 2006, after neighbor complaints of commercial truck traffic violations, officers conducted a successful campaign on Route 136. The officers handed out fliers to passing truck drivers reminding them it was a "no thru truck" road. During the weeks following the campaign, officers followed up with enforcement and found truck traffic had been reduced significantly.

The Fairfield department, like those in many towns, also used the portable speed readers, which flash amber colored letters that display an oncoming motorist's travels speed. The numbers flash red when the oncoming motorist exceeds the posted speed limit. DUI saturation patrols are also highlighted in the book submitted for the CLEC. DUI saturation patrols are employed 52 weeks a year, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening in an effort to reduce the number of impaired driving injuries and fatalities. The goal is accomplished through both high visibility patrolling and focused enforcement in certain areas of town. In 2006, 468 individual DUI patrols were deployed under DOT funding.

Checkpoints, said Zabin, have resulted in not only drunken-driving arrests but also arrests for drug possession.

Operation Safe Driver has not only been responsible for citations for various motor vehicle violations but also illegal immigrant deportation arrests.

Zabin, who attended a week-long conference in Naples, Fla., in June related to alcohol and drug-impaired driving, came away with better ideas on how to increase DUI checkpoint safety, better ways to monitor local liquor establishments, as well as how to create a database for "place of last drink," which Zabin said may help the police plot where "some of the bars are over-serving."

Today's awards ceremony and luncheon, which is called the Law Enforcement Summit, will take place at Water's Edge Resort and Spa, according to Comers.

"It's always rewarding to have your work recognized," he said.

Zabin said traffic enforcement training in 2007 has already exceeded what took place in 2006 and "we hope to do more in the future," he said.

He added, "We want people to realize we're serious. I want to create a buzz around Fairfield County that the Fairfield police take traffic enforcement very seriously, and if you break the law, you're going to get caught."

Zabin said the highest number of citizen complaints have to do with speeding and reckless driving. He added that accidents -- whether single car, car on car, or car hitting a pedestrian -- can result in long-term repercussions. "Injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident can stay with people for many years," said Zabin.

The organizers of the annual CLEC believe the competition, among other things, is a friendly way for departments to increase their attention to traffic safety, as well as creates incentive for continuing traffic safety activities.

Peck said the third place finish in the statewide competition speaks volumes about the Police Department.

"Very often, the Police Department is criticized for not doing enough traffic enforcement," said Peck. "I think this proves we are trying very hard to do the best that we can, and in addition to the initiatives that we already have in place, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to deal with traffic issues and traffic enforcement."