Early results show Directed Enforcement Team reducing crashes on 10th Avenue South

The data is preliminary, but early signs indicate that the high visibility from the Directed Enforcement Team on 10th Avenue South has reduced injury crashes 29 percent.

The data is comparing May 15, 2017 through July 31, 2017 to the same time period last year.

Non-injury crashes have declined by 25 percent while hit and runs have declined by 20 percent, according to Great Falls Police Department data.

From May 15 to July 31 of this year, the DET wrote 799 traffic warnings and citations. That number also includes 264 cell phone violations, according to Sgt. Tony Munkres, the DET leader. The DET is watching for a variety of violations including cell phone, illegal turns, following too close, red light violations, careless driving, unsafe lane changes, etc, Munkres said.

GFPD conducting “high visibility enforcement” on 10th Avenue South

The team is paying particular attention to 10th Avenue South in an effort to decrease traffic incidents and injury crashes. The officers will be in marked and unmarked cars, “so you never know really,” and conducting “high visibility enforcement,” Capt. Rob Moccasin of GFPD told The Electric in June.

The team, led by Munkres, includes MPOs Green and Scheer and SPOs Draper and McAdam. The team falls under Moccasin’s leadership as the patrol division commander.

20901733_1470954156292840_727969785489076239_o

The goal is to reduce the amount of time officer spend answering traffic and accident calls on 10th, freeing them up to do more proactive and preventative policing, Moccasin said in June.

Though the team has focused on 10th Avenue South for the last 2.5 months, it’s not “nearly enough time to change driving behavior to the point it would free up patrol officers in general,” Munkres wrote in an email.

Munkres said they have received positive feedback, even from drivers receiving citations.

“We have made an effort to explain to motorists our goal of reducing accidents on 10th Avenue South,” Munkres said in an email. “Most motorists understand and support this goal.”

The DET is also working with the Montana Department of Transportation to address any design or traffic flow issues.

Munkres said the team has had several discussions and brainstorming sessions on specific intersections and improving traffic flow, but haven’t put together enough data yet to take to MDT.