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Chico PD adds traffic patrol unit

"We have far more traffic related deaths than homicides in this community and not having a traffic unit for the last ten years was not a good thing for this community." said Chief O'Brien.

Posted: Mar 12, 2018 4:56 PM

"Just driving around myself, I saw things that were very concerning and quite frankly, our citizens were very concerned with what they were seeing on our street," said Chief Mike O'Brien.

Chico Police officers respond to more than 200 calls a day - they're busy! And as a result, police have been letting traffic violations slide. But it's had dangerous impacts.

"We have far more traffic related deaths than homicides in this community and not having a traffic unit for the last ten years was not a good thing for this community." said O'Brien.

In the past three years, 16 people have died in car wrecks in Chico. So, the department's re-launched a 3-man motorcycle unit specifically to monitor traffic.

"If you want to get around an accident, these guys are skilled at maneuvering around different obstacles," said O'Brien.

A 22 year veteran, Sergeant. Todd Lefkowitz will head the unit and run the major accident investigation team.

"We really want to bring safety back to our roads, through education and enforcement, we go out and educate folks on what the laws are, go to schools all the way up to college and we do strong enforcement," said Lefkowitz.

Officers Ryan Mitchell and Travis Johnson complete the team - and it's a tough job.

"What I tell people is, 'you're a good person you just committed a traffic violation and this is no bearing on who you are, but we do need to take action on this'," said Officer Travis Johnson.

"People get upset, just getting pulled over makes people upset sometimes and you have to evaluate each person as to why they're behaving the way they are. But, people have some colorful excuses!" said Officer Ryan Mitchell.

Dangerous driving can come from a little mistake, like texting or absentminded speeding....

"Or a big mistake if they're driving under the influence and take someone's life, it's a mistake that could have been prevented from the get-go," said Mitchell.

And, the Chief says, citation money goes to the general fund, and the only incentive to give tickets is to keep people safe.

"We want them to do their job and if there's no one violating the law, great! But there's no such thing as a quota for us," said O'Brien.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 238681

Reported Deaths: 6169
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1056653405
Riverside18041463
San Diego14623370
Orange14413345
San Bernardino12746258
Imperial652397
Alameda6156136
Fresno528975
Kern476876
Santa Clara4572158
Tulare4323128
San Joaquin391454
San Francisco364850
Sacramento339768
San Mateo3311108
Contra Costa324877
Ventura309646
Santa Barbara289629
Kings250434
Marin239419
Stanislaus231044
Monterey169115
Solano140225
Sonoma11857
Merced113111
Placer72411
San Luis Obispo6422
Yolo55524
Madera5415
Santa Cruz3993
Napa3334
San Benito2392
Lassen2330
El Dorado1980
Sutter1973
Butte1892
Humboldt1334
Shasta1294
Nevada1171
Glenn1150
Yuba941
Mendocino850
Tehama821
Lake790
Colusa590
Del Norte511
Mono421
Calaveras400
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Tuolumne300
Mariposa271
Amador240
Plumas100
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 81°
Oroville
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 83°
Paradise
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 81°
Chester
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 74°
Red Bluff
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 87°
Willows
Few Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 81°
We'll have sunny to mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures today. A slight chance for showers will pop up in Lassen County this evening. Temperatures will be a little cooler on Friday, but will heat back up for your 4th of July weekend.
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