Police consider “zero tolerance” policy a success one week into school year

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Official numbers aren't in yet but one week after the start of school, and Huntsville Police Department's "zero tolerance" policy seems to be working.

Beginning on Tuesday, August 5, all posted speed limits and other traffic laws will be strictly enforced in both public and private school zones, according to Huntsville Police Chief Lewis Morris.

You should expect a lot of traffic around school zones as the “Zero Tolerance” campaign kicks off.  Morris said Huntsville Police Department’s Traffic Services Units, Precinct Officers, School Resource Officers and Public Safety Aides will monitor traffic and safety issues at 85 school zones across Huntsville and issue citations for “all traffic violations.”

"We have had very good success," said Sgt. Mark Shahan. "The vast majority of vehicles in school zones have been doing the speed limit, we have a few that go over the speed limit, we've stopped those and issued a citation to them."

Police are happy with the way drivers are responding to the policy. They're listening to the warning and slowing down. That in turn, is making it a lot easier for officers patrolling the school zones.

"We're probably about on par with what we've had in the last 10 years or so for number of violations and actually number of people obeying those speed limits," said Shahan.

WHNT News 19 also spoke with Capt. John Stringer with Madison Police. Stringer said they have not had any major issues in the schools zones this fall.

Dianne Hartwig has two students at West Madison Elementary School.  She said it makes it a little easier to sleep at night knowing authorities are watching the school zones in her neighborhood very closely.

"I feel a lot better about it," said Hartwig. "It's unacceptable to speed in a school zone around children so I feel better about keeping them safe."

Even though the first week of school has come and gone, law enforcement will still be out in full force for the remainder of the year.

"I'd rather do fire prevention than fire fighting," said Shahan. "If we can go out there and prevent an accident, I'd much rather do that than go out there and have to take care of it after."