Thanks to a new speed-measuring device provided by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety, law enforcement officers in St. Joseph are better equipped to identify vehicles driving at illegal and unsafe speeds. The police department is one of only nine law enforcement agencies in Minnesota being awarded a Stalker mobile traffic radar unit for participating in the Towards Zero Deaths enforcement effort that took place during the 2013 Labor Day Mobilization.
“Traffic enforcement may not be the most glamorous job in the department” said Chief Joel Klein, “but it is more likely to save a life than nearly anything else we can do. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for Minnesotans usually considered too young to die – those between one and 34 years of age.”
“It’s impossible to tell exactly how many or whose lives are saved when we emphasize traffic enforcement,” he continued, “the result is a crash that doesn’t happen. We just know it changes drivers behaviors – people buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.”
Tom Kummrow, law enforcement liaison, with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said, “The St. Joseph Police Department is receiving this radar in recognition of their commitment to enforcing traffic laws every day, not just when we’re able to pay for overtime hours. This is so important to upholding the motto “to protect and serve” – it keeps our families complete and our friends healthy.”
The St. Joseph Police Department is currently a partner on a Towards Zero Deaths enforcement grant with St. Cloud Police Department. The grant provides overtime funds to place officers on the roads of Stearns and Benton counties.
The dual-antenna feature of St. Joseph’s new radar allows the officer to check the speed of the vehicles behind the squad as well as those in front of it. The unit is a “state-of-the-art” radar which will compliment St. Joseph’s current traffic enforcement equipment inventory.
Towards Zero Deaths is a statewide and national law enforcement campaign designed to increase seat belt and child seat use, lower speeds, detect distracted drivers and decrease the incidence of impaired driving.
The radar was presented to the St. Joseph Police Department at the regular St. Joseph City Council meeting on Feb. 6.