ARAB, Ala. -- The Arab Police Department started a new program aimed at achieving multiple goals. The idea is to use off-duty officers to create a stronger presence in the community, build rapport, and keep the roads safer.
"We have just started a program that we termed Traffic Safety Campaign," explained Chief Ed Ralston, "The objective of it is to focus on secondary roads inside our city limits where we're having problems with speeding, running stop signs, texting and driving, any kind of traffic violation."
Off-duty officers will work these specialized shifts. The department started this program this week. The officers are paid by the department and not outside funding. The goal is to reduce traffic violations and create a presence and build rapport in the community. "That's not always done just by giving a ticket. It may be a payable citation, it may be a warning, it could be a verbal warning, or they may end up interacting with a child who is scared of them at the moment and trying to make them understand not to be scared," Ralston said.
Ralston added the department's high call volume detracts focus from traffic violations. "We find when we focus more on traffic citations or violations we reduce the number of accidents, we reduce injuries, we reduce theft. Everything is relative to what we do as far as reducing traffic violations."
Ralston says they hope to run the program until school starts. The program could continue further depending on its success and funding.