MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office and Wisconsin State Patrol are cracking down on speeders in a big way -- and Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt demonstrated that fact with statistics from the last seven days in a news conference on Thursday afternoon, September 14th.
"You get a group of officers -- you get them together in marked squad cars with light bars on them so people can see them. We go to random areas and we started hammering down on people driving recklessly," said Schmidt.
Schmidt said deputies have been conducting random high saturation patrols throughout Milwaukee County since September 6th. This is not a 24/7 operation, but there are a couple of hours each day when speeders are targeted. The acting sheriff said deputies are watching for aggressive, reckless drivers and tailgaters.
Here are the statistics from the last seven days as presented by Acting Sheriff Schmidt:
- 216 traffic stops made
- 246 citations issued
- Of the 246, 169 citations were speed-related
Schmidt said even more alarming was the number of people speeding excessively. He presented the following statistics (again, last seven days) -- starting at 16 miles-per-hour over the posted speed limit:
- 16-19 mph over the posted speed limit: 98 citations issued
- 20-24 mph over the posted speed limit: 48 citations issued
- 25-30 mph over the posted speed limit: 9 citations issued
- 31-35 mph over the posted speed limit: 2 citations issued
- 36-40 mph over the posted speed limit: 3 citations issued
Schmidt also presented the statistics for Thursday, September 14th alone. In coordination with the Wisconsin State Patrol, 50 speeding citations were issued Thursday. Here's the breakdown:
- 16-19 mph over the posted speed limit: 16 people cited
- 20-24 mph over the posted speed limit: 9 people cited
- 25-30 mph over the posted speed limit: 1 person cited
- 31-35 mph over the posted speed limit: 1 person cited
"This is not about generating revenue. This is about slowing down reckless driving," said Acting Sheriff Schmidt.
Schmidt said if drivers need a reason to slow down, this could be it... If you get stopped for speeding in a construction zone, you'll be issued a ticket for between $400 and $600. If you are cited for speeding 30+ mph over the posted limit, you'll be stung with a $600 ticket plus six points.
Schmidt said he is purposefully not hiding this initiative from the public. He said his focus is on public safety -- and "we're out to stop aggressive drivers."
Besides the saturation patrols, Schmidt's other goal is to reduce the $5 million deficit his department faces.
"This is not costing any overtime dollars. Every single one of these is being done on straight time or grant funds which are provided by the state of Wisconsin," Schmidt said.
Schmidt says the initiative will help save lives.
"Citizens, we need your cooperation. I'm telling you exactly what we are doing. No hidden measures and I'm asking for your assistance on this," said Schmidt.