The Police Chief - December 2011 - (Page 104)

H I G H W A Y S A F E T Y I N I T I A T I V E S Collaboration: The Key to Continued Reduction of Fatalities By Richard J. Ashton, Chief of Police (Retired), Frederick, Maryland; and Grant/Technical Management Manager, IACP P reliminary figures indicate that crash fatalities declined 3 percent in 2010 over 2009, signifying an astounding 25 percent decrease in highway deaths between 2005 and 2010, from 43,510 to 32,788.1 Moreover, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) last year rose 20.5 billion miles, or 0.7 percent in 2010 over 2009.2 If these initial figures hold, the nation’s fatality rate per 100 million VMT was 1.09 last year—compared to 1.13 in 2009 and 1.46 in 2005—and was the lowest rate recorded since 1949.3 Significantly, 2 of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) 10 geographic regions recorded double-digit declines in crash deaths: the Pacific Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington (Region 10) at 12 percent; and the western states of Arizona, California, and Hawaii (Region 9) at 10.8 percent.4 The obvious question now becomes this: With Americans driving more miles and with ever-shrinking budgets, can traffic deaths continue to decline? The four Es— enforcement, engineering, education, and emergency medical services—working in concert with one another offer a positive response to this question. Enforcement Law enforcement agencies are undertaking far more activities with far fewer resources in these trying economic times. As their funding—and what it formerly supported—has dwindled, these agencies still have fulfilled their core responsibilities and many have been assigned new homeland security duties since 9/11. Officers have remained true to their oaths, for the country continues to be safe: The FBI reported that violent crime—that is, murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault— decreased 6 percent last year over 2009,5 and traffic fatalities declined as well. Law enforcement agencies always have generated tremendous amounts of information and have initiated in recent decades a variety of effective data-driven approaches to harness the usefulness of that information; they now are able to pinpoint and then target specific incidents when and where they intersect. Agencies can allocate their limited resources to when these resources will have the greatest impact if incidents’ locations and times of occurrence are known. Several examples follow: • Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other Demonstration Program.6 Distracted driving continues to contribute to crashes, but two demonstration projects suggest that NHTSA’s high-visibility enforcement model reduced drivers’ use of handheld cellphones while driving by 57 percent in Hartford, Connecticut (from 6.8 percent to 2.9 percent); and 32 percent in Syracuse, New York (from 3.7 percent to 2.5 percent);7 as well as drivers’ texting while driving 72 percent in Hartford (from 3.9 percent to 1.1 percent) and 32 percent in Syracuse (from 2.8 percent to 1.9 percent).8 Officers employed two different enforcement strategies: those in Syracuse preferred roving patrols using “higher vantage points, SUVs, and unmarked vehicles,”9 while those in Hartford favored “a spotter technique, where an officer, usually standing on the side of the road, radioed ahead to another officer whenever a passing motorist using a handheld cellphone was observed. The second officer made the stop and wrote the ticket.”10 • Target Zero Teams.11 On July 1, 2010, the Washington State Patrol initiated three full-time Target Zero teams consisting of one sergeant and six troopers each, in cooperation with allied agencies, in three counties. The aim of Target Zero was to reduce the 40 percent of statewide fatalities that are alcohol-related as an integral part of its overall goal of achieving zero fatalities by 2030; that is, a reduction of fatalities by 25 per year. Target Zero is a high-visibility impaired driving enforcement effort funded by NHTSA for two years, and those assigned made 1,000 arrests in three months and 2,400 in nine months with only three impaired driving fatalities. Target Zero achieved its goals in a mere ten months, and the patrol now intends to acquire funding in order to implement this effort statewide rather than only in the original three counties. • Although the number of drivers or motorcycle riders with blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or greater declined from 48 percent in 1982 to 32 percent in 2009, 10,839 alcohol-impaired drivers nevertheless died in 2009.12 In terms of those fatalities that occurred from 12:00 midnight to 3:00 a.m., 66 percent were alcohol impaired.13 NHTSA has suggested employing sobriety checkpoints between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. to leverage their deterrent value, complemented by saturation or roving patrols between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.14 Multiagency low-staffing sobriety checkpoints are one vehicle that can economically demonstrate law enforcement’s commitment to reducing impaired driving deaths and are force multipliers promoting cooperation and camaraderie among participating deputies and officers.15 104 THE POLICE CHIEF/DECEMBER 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Police Chief - December 2011

President’s Message: The Time for a National Commission Has Come
Legislative Alert: National Criminal Justice Commission Legislation Falls Short of Passage
IACP Foundation: Fueled Up to Fund the Foundation: Harley-Davidson Raffle Kicked Off at Conference
Chief’s Counsel: Postincident Video Review
From the Assistant Director: The U.S. Secret Service Partners with State, Local, and International Law Enforcement to Pursue the World’s Most Wanted Cybercriminals
Advances & Applications
Taking the Straw Man to the Ground: Arguments in Support of the Linear Use-of-Force Continuum
How Police Can Use Hospital Laws to Speed Processing in Hospital Emergency Departments
On Choosing the Right Operational Police Physician
Report of the 118th Annual IACP Conference: Chicago
Board of Officers
General Assemblies
IACP Business
Exhibit Hall
Special Events
Thank You, Chicago
Life Members
New Members
Exhibitor Update
Intelligence-Led Policing: The Future Is Now
“Just a Volunteer”: Supporting An Agency’s Volunteer Program through Difficult Times
Providing Effective Policing for Aboriginal Communities
The IACP and Alcatel-Lucent Present International and Domestic Police Officer of the Year Awards
2011 Author Index
2011 Subject Index
Technology Talk
Index to Advertisers
Highway Safety Initiatives

The Police Chief - December 2011