Jackson Police to increase traffic enforcement using new grant

You read this article and the first that might come to your mind is why would we need such a grant that uses federal dollars to be designated for such a task. Is the mayor and chief afraid to ask us for these funds so they run and hide somewhere else. The second thing you might ask is what is the city doing with our dollars if not this? And last, what hoops does our city have to jump to obtain this?

By Cassandra Stephenson | Jackson Sun


Jackson City Police Department and SWAT team responds to a welfare check and reported gunshot at 100 block of Conger St in Jackson, Tenn., on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (Photo: HENRY TAYLOR/The Jackson Sun)

The Jackson Police Department will increase traffic enforcement starting in December thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office aiming to reduce injuries and deaths due to traffic accidents.

The $50,000 Crash Reduction Enforcement Grant will be used to pay overtime to officers specifically focusing on traffic enforcement from December to Sept. 30, 2019.

“The whole idea of the whole thing is to reduce crashes and injuries and fatalities,” JPD Captain Ronald Adams said.

Increased enforcement will focus on multiple traffic violations, including speeding, negligent driving, distracted driving and impaired driving, according to a JPD press release. Officers will also focus on vehicle occupant protection statutes like those that require use of safety belts and child safety seats and restraints.

Throughout the grant period, teams of officers will be sent to various high-traffic roadways in Jackson where crashes tend to occur more frequently. JPD’s December shift plans include an overnight DUI enforcement and additional general traffic enforcement shifts during mornings and late afternoons.

JPD will also focus on distracted driving in cooperation with a federal initiative. Distracted driving includes using a telephone while driving, reading, or doing any type of distracting multitasking while operating a vehicle, Adams said.

“It’s about like spotting a drunk driver, honestly,” Adams said. “They don’t maintain good lane control, they don’t do good turns and all that kind of stuff, the same as impaired drivers do.”

JPD applies for grants like this roughly every year, Adams said, because of Jackson’s high amount of flow-through traffic. Interstate 40 and the Bypass average close to 60,000 cars passing through each day, according to Adams. Highland Avenue sees 45,000 to 50,000 cars per day, and South Highland Avenue averages about 40,000 per day.

JPD recently concluded increased enforcement efforts using another grant focusing solely on impaired driving and DUIs. The new grant is more all-encompassing.

“This one is [for] multi-faceted traffic enforcement, which is much, much harder to get,” Adams said. “We were pretty fortunate to get one. In Tennessee they don’t do very many of those.”

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