Local agencies to have law enforcement initiative

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department will be joining a state-wide effort to enforce seatbelt and imparied driving laws.
Posted on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Local law enforcement agencies in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties will be joining other law enforcement agencies throughout Indiana in a “Safe Family Travel” campaign, which starts Friday and runs through Dec. 2.

Elkhart and St. Joseph county agencies had a press conference Wednesday to kick off the start of the campaign, which will go on for three weekends.

The campaign is an effort to reduce the number of accidents in Indiana at a time when hundreds of drivers will travel to see family and friends. More than 250 law enforcement agencies in Indiana will join the efforts.

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and the Elkhart and Goshen police departments are some of the local agencies participating.

Capt. Jim Bradberry, public information officer for the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, said the state has quarterly enforcement effort events to remind drivers of the danger of not following the law.

“There’s a need for what we do,” he said. “We get asked ‘why don’t you go out and fight some real crimes? … ’ That’s all serious stuff but we do have a problem here with our traffic and enforcing the laws that we have.”

According to a fact sheet provided by the sheriff’s department, there have been more than 12,000 accidents in Elkhart County in the last two years, with 2,508 of those involving personal injury and 60 of them being fatal. Between Elkhart and St. Joseph counties there have been about 25,000 accidents in the last two years.

“We want to reduce the number of fatals that are happening in our counties, and we want our holiday season to be a successful, safe one that people can go out and enjoy,” said Lt Tim Williams of the Mishawaka Police Department.

Williams said while police primarily target areas they know are prone to have accidents, they consider both rural areas and the city to be as dangerous for drivers.

Certified technicians were available to check child car seats and educate anyone interested throughout the evening, and there were also some booths with information for drivers and bicyclists.

Officials recommended families to take their children’s car seats to technicians at the sheriff’s department or Elkhart County Health Department in Elkhart to get them checked.

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