BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The Bridgeport Police Department is stepping up its traffic and motor vehicle presence in the wake of three pedestrian fatalities since January 1.
The traffic division will be on the look out for jaywalkers, distracted drivers, speeders and those not using seatbelt and child safety seats in the coming months, using speed trailers and radar to catch offenders.
“Those types of extreme incidents make you stop and say, ‘What more can we do?” Mayor Joseph P. Ganim said of the recent fatalities on John and Prospect streets and Barnum Avenue.
“This will save lives.”
Ganim and police officers announced the stepped-up presence at a press conference on State Street Thursday, where police had set up a speed trailer. While reporters gathered, Patrolman Richie Mercado used a radar gun to clock motorists, pulling over a woman with New York plates just before Ganim began talking.
In addition to visible and hidden operations across Bridgeport starting immediately, Special Services Captain Robert Evans announced a state Department of Transportation grant for overtime for distracted driver high visibility enforcement operations in April and August.
Last year, the department wrote 1,002 related tickets in April and another 433 during two weeks in August in state-funded programs, Evans said.
“The problem here is we had three pedestrians hit and killed in a month and a half. That’s unacceptable,” said Captain A.J. Perez. “We need to raise awareness.”
Perez said officers will begin by issuing warnings, but repeat offenders will receive summons. Speeding is often a factor, but Perez said pedestrians are sometimes to blame for not crossing safely at crosswalks.
“We will be enforcing more dramatically,” Ganim said.
Evans encouraged residents to alert police if they see someone committing a motor vehicle offense. Just this week, a concerned citizen shared a cell phone video of a high-speed hit and run that will help with their investigation, he said.
Residents can call the hit and run hotline at 203-576-8084.
Parents unsure of how to install a child safety seat can also turn to police for help by calling 203-576-8262 for assistance.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.