Police Team 5 to renew focus on traffic enforcement
Just as the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office did two weeks ago, Charleston Police Department’s Team 5 on Daniel Island is planning to step up traffic enforcement.
“We have been pushing harder to increase some of our traffic enforcement, in particular, the spots that are either statistically shown to have most of our collisions and, even more so, the injury-causing collisions,” said Team 5 Lieutenant James Byrne.
Although Team 5 did not reveal specific places that will see increased police activity, Byrne did say that they would look at crosswalks, stop signs, intersections, and spots that see higher congestion during rush hour.
Byrne added that the new traffic action “was a direct response to concerns received from citizens, safety during back to school season, and a review of collision patterns, particularly around the downtown Daniel Island area.”
Attendants of the August 28 Daniel Island Neighborhood Association meeting heard some of the regular complaints about traffic safety that Team 5 receives. Residents mentioned problems they have with stoplights, crosswalks, and driver observance of pedestrians.
At the same meeting, Byrne told the crowd gathered that Team 5 has “changed patrol teams, we’ve changed force allotments, and I believe 20 officers are being reallocated to a revamped traffic division.”
Three of the ways that the police are attempting to solve these specific traffic issues are through education, engineering, and enforcement.
“We do try to engage in that [education] as much as we can,” said the Lieutenant. “Sometimes that happens at the side of the road at a traffic stop, sometimes it occurs at a neighborhood meeting.”
Team 5 also educates by promoting “what the laws are and what they mean,” like they did at the DINA meeting, where they spoke about speeding and proper center lane usage.
The engineering side of things is a mathematical approach, centered on everything that directs traffic. South Carolina Department of Transportation and the City of Charleston’s Department of Traffic and Transportation handles things of this nature with signs, lights, speed limits, road width, and “things that are going to reduce the likelihood of a collision.” Team 5 is able to aid in this by reporting complaints they receive to the proper channels.
The enforcement angle is the one most people have experienced firsthand: tickets, citations, and warnings. Lieutenant Byrne said that, although they are working to prevent dangerous driving through a number of methods, Team 5 and other departments do have limitations.
“It is important to remember that all of these agencies that we talk about, whether it’s the police, T and T, South Carolina Department of Transportation, we all do have budgets and we all do have confines that we have to work within. And there are prioritizations of projects,” he stated.