Traffic units in police agencies across Stanislaus County are working together each month as a show of force unmatched when they go it alone.
Turlock police Sgt. Neil Cervenka said many traffic units have been hit hard by budget cuts and that the number of traffic officers isn’t enough to leave a big impression on motorists during operations. So officers in traffic units in every city police department and the Sheriff’s Department meet each month to crack down on traffic violators.
Countywide Integrated Traffic Enforcement rotates through each city; Wednesday, it focused on pedestrian safety in Turlock. Almost a dozen traffic officers wrote 83 citations to pedestrians and motorists during the 90-minute operation.
They started with pedestrian violators in north Turlock along Monte Vista Avenue and Christofferson Parkway, then moved to 20th Century Boulevard to target motorists. Two teams went to crosswalks at the ends of the boulevard – at Geer Road and North Golden State Boulevard – where they ticketed motorists who failed to yield to pedestrians.
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In addition to pedestrian-related citations, officers wrote two tickets to people using cell phones and three to people driving on suspended licenses.
Cervenka said Turlock, as well as the rest of Stanislaus County, has seen a jump in vehicle vs. pedestrian incidents. But representatives from each agency decide what traffic problems most need to be addressed when the CITE team does an operation in its city.
An operation in Oakdale recently focused on pedestrian safety, but a Riverbank operation targeted speeders and one in Patterson addressed red-light runners.
A task force similar to CITE existed a few years ago but was disbanded, then was brought back earlier this year to help allied agencies address budget cuts to their traffic units, Cervenka said.