Recently, the St. Johns County Sheriffâ€™s Office participated in the â€œLaw Enforcement Challenge,â€ sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation during the 2007 calendar year according to Kevin Kelshaw in a media release to Historic City News this afternoon.
Although the Charlotte County Sheriffâ€™s Office took first place in our division, overall, the St. Johns County Sheriffâ€™s Office won Second Place in the state and the SJSO Motorcycle Unit won Third Place. The combined winnings amounted to $19,000.00 worth of traffic safety equipment purchased at no cost to the agency.
The Law enforcement challenge is a competition between similar size and types of law enforcement agencies. It recognizes and awards the best overall traffic safety programs in the state of Florida. The areas of concentration include efforts to enforce laws and educate the public about occupant protection, impaired driving, speeding and other areas of traffic safety.
Departments submit an application that documents their agencyâ€™s efforts and effectiveness in these areas. The winning safety programs are those that combine officer training, public information and enforcement to reduce crashes, injuries and deaths within their respective jurisdictions.
This program is financed through grants from the Florida Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is well known that an increase in traffic enforcement in a community results in a decrease in motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities. Florida is one of ten states that has a compatible state program which runs in concert with a National Program which is coordinated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
During the top three months monitored, the St. Johns County Sheriffâ€™s Office yielded 338 citations for seat belt violations, 30 child passenger safety violations and 3,776 speeding violations. SJSO also conducted 12 DUI/ Safety Check Points, as well as 3 Drivers License Check Points. These check points yielded 128 arrests and 747 citations issued.
The agency also participated in several National and State Enforcement waves, such as Buckle Up, Stop Red Light Running, Labor Day Enforcement, and the Over the Limit, Under Arrest campaign. During these events SJSO made 56 DUI Arrests, issued 982 miscellaneous citations, 213 Seat Belt and Child Restraint Citations, and 210 miscellaneous arrests.
The last three years, St. Johns County experienced significant growth in the number of residential developments and in the number of visitors. Over the past three years, our county has experienced 3043 crashes in 2005, 3167 crashes in 2006 and 2811 crashes in 2007 in St. Johns County.
While our population and tourism increased our most recent crash ratio has been reduced. Furthermore, our seatbelt usage rate has increased from 42% last May to 56% in November.
Traffic safety concerns remain a priority for our citizens in the State of Florida and locally. St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar added, â€œit is my hope that these efforts continue to reduce traffic related deaths and injuries in our community. Further, I applaud the efforts of our deputies to support this goal and congratulate them on this accomplishment.â€
Historic City News contributed photograph. From left: LT John Donlon; SGT David Ham; and SGT Randy Capo