Tops for Traffic Enforcement

The two took "best in class" among cities and counties their size, and with traffic fatalities on the rise this year the one two punch is needed now more than ever.

Motorcycle cops are honing their skills in the recent Florida law enforcement challenge. Both Tallahassee police and Leon County sheriff's deputies garnered first place honors, not for mastering maneuvers but for a potent combination of enforcement and education.

Tallahassee police issued more than 32,000 traffic citations and 2,100 warnings last year. Leon County deputies wrote another 9,000-plus traffic tickets and more than twice that many warnings, and together the agencies arrested more than 800 drunk drivers in 2004, both independently and at joint road blocks.

DEP Shannon Black of the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "Along with starting the DUI task force, we've done a lot of enforcement on the DUI program as well as a lot of DUI education in the schools. We've been into all the different high schools."

Not only did the challenge check out ticket tallies and crash totals, it gave great weight to educational programs and safety campaigns like Leon SO's mock crashes and TPD's battle of the belts, all as important as ever with traffic deaths up statewide in 2005.

SGT Steve Gauding of the Tallahassee Police Department says, "We are real concerned about that. Most of the motorcycle officers out here are also traffic homicide investigators, so they see both sides of it."

The FSU campus police also scored among the best in the state, placing second in its class even though it competed against departments 10 times its size, and while all three departments are rightfully proud, the bottom line, they hope, is that their efforts are saving lives.