FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS5) - Flagstaff Police are pulling people over for traffic violations big and small, and they hope the stepped up enforcement will reduce crashes.
Data provided by the Flagstaff Police Department shows accidents went up 2-percent in 2019 compared to 2018. At the same time, traffic stops went down, and numbers show when officers pulled someone over, they were more likely to issue a warning instead of a citation.
“We’re trying to prevent any loss of life and property,” says Flagstaff Police Sgt. Charles Hernandez. “We think any opportunity to contact the driver will enable us to provide that education to the operator so they’re safe.”
Hernandez says the traffic safety campaign will last through April and officers will be focusing on moving violations and equipment violations. When the campaign ends, officials will crunch the numbers to see if the effort worked to make the streets safer in Flagstaff.
Some drivers like the idea, and some don’t.
“I think it’s actually a rather good idea,” says Flagstaff resident, Juan Carlos Ortiz. “I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve seen the traffic build up for years.
“If you’re pulling people over, maybe they’re going to be more conscious that the police are alert to what’s going on on the road,” says Flagstaff resident, Sue George. She doesn’t mind a friendly reminder to slow down or fix a blinker, but that’s it. “If they give me a ticket, yeah, I’d be really upset,” says George.
Hernandez is calling this an awareness campaign intended to educate drivers. “We’re not policing for profit, we’re policing for public safety and awareness,” says Hernandez. “It’s not always going to be a citation.”
Flagstaff Police hope the campaign will change driver behavior and reduce crashes. “It will make me angry,” says Flagstaff visitor Molly Buxton. “But it won’t change how I drive. I might slow down.”