The Longview Police Department has released enforcement statistics for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (S.T.E.P.) for the first half of the current grant year.
During the months of October 2007 through March 2008, Longview S.T.E.P. officers worked a total of 687 hours of overtime traffic enforcement, resulting in the following numbers of tickets issued and arrests made:
Speeding Tickets: 1,355
Seatbelt/Child Restraint Tickets: 328
Red Light/Stop Sign Tickets: 221
DWI Arrests: 8
Other Traffic Tickets: 577
Other Arrests: 30
Thirteen (13) locations were selected for additional speed enforcement under the grant. Through the first six months, Gilmer Rd. between the 100 - 4300 blocks is the location where the most speeding tickets have been issued. A total of 244 speeding tickets have been issued at this location by officers working STEP enforcement. Gilmer Rd. was also targeted under last year's grant, and was a holdover this year as police continue to try to increase the speed compliance rate on this roadway. Prior to this year's enforcement period, Gilmer Rd. had a compliance rate of only 13.07%. The 900 - 1100 block of Judson Rd., with 205 speeding tickets issued under the grant so far, followed Gilmer Rd. as the most site where the most speeding tickets were issued.
Under the category of Other Arrests, STEP Officers made thirty (30) arrests, which included charges for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Violation of a Protective Order and Minor in Possession of Alcohol. STEP Officers also served thirty-seven (37) outstanding warrants of arrest.
Local schools will be closing for the summer break in a couple of months and the Longview Police Department advises drivers to drive carefully, as traffic enforcement under the program will increase even more in an effort to combat the problems associated with this time of the year. Also, the annual, Memorial Day Click-It or Ticket seatbelt enforcement campaign will run for two-weeks from May 19 through June 1. Longview Police will be participating in this mobilization and will be targeting seatbelt and child restraint violations even more diligently during this period, during which a "no warnings" policy is implemented for these violations.
The STEP program is partially funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation that allows the use of off-duty Longview Police Officers working overtime for additional enforcement of traffic laws on Longview streets. Although all traffic laws are enforced, the program primarily targets speeders, intoxicated drivers, seatbelt and child restraint violations and intersection-related violations. Seatbelt enforcement and DWI enforcement is conducted citywide, while speed enforcement and intersection traffic control is conducted on specific roadways and intersections selected due to a high incidence of violations and/or vehicle crashes. The current grant program runs from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008. The Department has also applied for a continuation of this grant for 2008 - 2009.