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Expect to see more officers on the road

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:44 PM

The Norwalk post of the state Highway Patrol will have a full complement of troopers on the roads this weekend to look for behavior that could lead to accidents and especially, fatalities.

Troopers will be focusing on excessive speeding, alcohol usage and motorists failing to yield, such as not stopping at stop signs/lights or pulling in front of another vehicle.

"Seat belts will be at the top of the list," said Lt. Jim Bryan, commander of the Norwalk post. "We've had three fatalities this year and none of them had a seat belt. If an officer catches you, you can expect a citation."

The emphasis on wearing seat belts is part of the "Click It or Ticket" campaign being advertised on the radio and television.

The Erie County Sheriff's Office will be joining other area authorities in the enforcement mobilization which runs through June 3. Capt. Paul Sigsworth said grant funding, obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will pay for overtime hours in which deputies will be focusing on seat belt usage and violations of child restraint laws.

"Motor vehicle-related injuries and deaths could be drastically reduced if motorists and their passengers would make a concerted effort to buckle their seat belts (while) traveling on roadways. The purpose of this mobilization is to remind motorists of this fact," Sigsworth said in a prepared statement.

The Norwalk post is using federal funds to pay for troopers using as much overtime as they want.

"These funds will be given to every post in the state when they feel like they need it the most. I can guarantee you every post will be using some federal funding for overtime because (Memorial Day weekend) has such a high volume of traffic," Bryan said.

"Every (local) trooper is assigned to be working this weekend," he continued. "Most of our officers will be working a 12-hour day through the weekend."

Huron County Sheriff Richard Sutherland said his office probably won't have anymore deputies on the road than usual, but there could be more reserve officers on patrol.

"We cover 500 (square) miles. We don't pick and choose where we go. We go where we're needed," he said.

The sheriff believes it's hard to tell if there will be more accidents this weekend, most because of the "skyrocketing" price of gasoline. Sutherland said the average motorist will be traveling about 50 miles if they drive during the holiday weekend.

Deputies, like officers in the patrol and Erie County, will be looking for speeders and people not using their seat belts.

"I think if people think before they jump, I think it will be better for everybody," Sutherland said.

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