(Photo by Taina Maya)
WACO (January 16, 2014) Waco police, for the past few days, have been intensifying their efforts to make streets safer by increasing traffic enforcement at several dangerous intersections in a unique operation involving a team of officers, one of whom is in disguise and on foot.
The traffic unit, made up of five officers and a supervisor, is concentrating on "high crash" intersections and in particular they're looking for drivers who violate speed limits, run red lights or stop signs or have expired license plates or inspection stickers.
Once a driver is stopped, officers check for valid insurance coverage.
Over the course of five hours on Thursday, officers set up at three separate locations, made 68 traffic stops, cited drivers for 97 violations, impounded four vehicles, and arrested 5 people, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
On Wednesday officers spent a total of five hours at three other intersections, made 67 traffic stops, cited drivers for 85 violations, impounded four vehicles and arrested three people, Swanton said.
One driver stopped Thursday morning had more than $11,000 in outstanding traffic warrants, Swanton said, and one stopped Wednesday had warrants that totaled more than $15,000.
The traffic unit operates independently from other police units and the effort does not have an impact on other police activity, Swanton said.
Regular shift officers still are responding to calls, investigating burglaries and other crimes.
An officer in disguise and on foot who’s stationed at an intersection uses a radio to contact other officers in patrol cars who make the stops, Swanton said.
The locations they frequent change on a rotating basis and the times they work may vary.
The department is posting the locations and times for the stepped-up enforcement on Facebook and other social media so drivers will know when and where the officers are working.
In some instances, Swanton said, officers will assist drivers by helping put on registration stickers or offering rides home if a car has to be towed.