"Back to School" Traffic Safety Efforts a Success
The Mesa Police Department Traffic Section credits saturated patrols and partnerships with School Resource Officers and school personnel for a safe and successful start to the 2012-13 school year. Mesa and Gilbert Public Schools resumed classes August 8th. Gilbert Public Schools has several campuses in the Mesa city limits. Several charter schools began classes as well. No serious traffic related incidents were reported.
The Mesa Police Traffic Section's efforts began before the start of school. Several hundred crossing guards received education and training instructed by Mesa Police motorcycle officers. The training was hosted by Mesa Public Schools and was attended by crossing guards from several school districts. Mesa police have a long standing working relationship with Mesa Public Schools and Gilbert Public Schools. Mesa Police School Resource Officers worked with MPD traffic personnel to provide information on historically problematic areas. Traffic personnel were deployed based on information from the Mesa School Resource Officers and historical analysis.
Mesa Police traffic officers conducted saturated patrols in school zones and surrounding neighborhoods. Officers used both enforcement and education as means to assist with providing a safe commuting environment for students, parents, and school personnel. In addition to writing citations to violators, traffic officers worked with school personnel to improve traffic flow. Record high temperatures and increased enrollment at several schools created numerous safety issues related to vehicles dropping off and picking up students.
Citations were issued for speeding, passing in school zones, failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and parking. Illegal parking in crosswalk areas creates a safety issue due to reduced visibility of students and crossing guards. Despite numerous signs, parents parked in prohibited areas to pick up students. One driver was cited for failing to stop for pedestrians after she was observed by a motor officer driving through an occupied crosswalk while looking at her mobile phone. The woman told the officer she never saw the crossing guard or the numerous school children crossing the road when she drove through the crosswalk. The officer was on a fully marked police motorcycle on the same corner when the woman went through the crosswalk. Distracted driving contributes to numerous fatal and serious injury accidents nationally.
Funding for the saturation patrols was provided by the Governor's Officer of Highway Safety. Funding was used to provide additional hours of patrol by traffic section officers.