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File #: 21-0520    Version: 1
Type: Report Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 4/14/2021 In control: City Council
On agenda: 4/20/2021 Final action:
Title: Receive the report on strategies and actions being taken and evaluated regarding loud and/or fleeing vehicles

CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM

 

ACTION REQUESTED:
title

Receive the report on strategies and actions being taken and evaluated regarding loud and/or fleeing vehicles

body

 

DEPARTMENT:                     Police Department

 

SUBMITTED BY:                     Chief Robert Marshall, Police Chief

 

BOARD/COMMISSION REVIEW:
NA

 

BACKGROUND:

During public forum and the new business segment of the April 7, 2021 City Council meeting, concerns were raised by residents and Council members regarding drag racing, speeding, loud mufflers, and disruptive vehicle behavior both downtown and citywide. Specific concerns were expressed about disruptive driving behaviors in and around the parking garages, as well as the downtown business area and along Aurora Avenue and other City arterial streets.

 

During the discussion, data was shared with the purpose of demonstrating the pro-active approach the Police Department has implemented since Spring of 2020.  The data consisted of the number of traffic stops, citations, warnings along with preventative measures. Police staffing for enforcement efforts was also discussed. For the past three weekends, extra police officers have been assigned to police the downtown. The annual downtown policing plan which is implemented every summer season is in the final stages of being updated and will be distributed upon completion.

 

One disturbing trend noted and discussed, has been the dramatic increase in the number of fleeing and eluding police cases that are occurring, both locally and nationally. The Police Department saw an increase in the number of vehicles fleeing and eluding traffic stops in 2020 climb to 48, while in comparison in 2016-2019 an average of 19 occurred per year. In 2021, the Police Department has already recorded 17 cases of fleeing and eluding.

 

Despite the actions taken by the Police Department, it has become evident that presence and strict enforcement alone has not been effective at curtailing the driving behavior and the traffic offenses. It seems violators do not fear the consequences currently in place.

 

To make a positive impact on the quality of life issues which have surfaced from residents and businesses, a collaborative approach is necessary to mitigate the effects created by the operators of loud vehicles, motorcycles, ATV’s and dirt bikes.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

A team from CMO, Legal, TED, DPW, Communications and the Police Department met to discuss current methods/strategies, as well as other potential ideas to assist in addressing the concerns discussed.  The actions underway and being evaluated are summarized below.

 

Efforts Underway

Increased Police Presence and Enforcement

                     Since early 2020, the Police Department has provided increased proactive traffic enforcement for all violations, including speeding and loud mufflers, as evidenced in the charts below. Specifically, 280 citations have been issued for loud exhaust with the vast majority resulting in a guilty plea and fines and fees assessed. This increased enforcement continues and is constantly being refined.