2012-07-10 / Front Page

ISP Steps Up Rural Patrols, Going Into ‘Stealth Mode’ In Some Cases

Aircraft Patrols, Trucks That Resemble INDOT Vehicles To Be Utilized
Staff Report

Drivers, be on the lookout if you’re traveling through southern Indiana. Indiana State Police Troopers are stepping up patrols. In some cases, they’re even going into ‘stealth mode.’

ISP Post #33 Public Information Officer Sergeant Curt Durnil said that in addition to marked and traditional unmarked patrol cars, they’ll be using nontraditional stealth patrol vehicles. Durnil said there is a direct correlation between the number of tickets or warnings issued and the reported number of traffic crashes.

Citing data from 2008 through the first three months of 2012, traffic fatalities decline when more tickets or warnings are given out, officials said.

“While (crash incidents) continue to decrease in the more urban areas, for some reason this year we have experienced more crashes in rural areas,” Durnil said. “Anytime that we are consistently aggressive in enforcement of the Indiana traffic laws, folks are obviously more apt to try to avoid being pulled over and being cited for a traffic violation. No one likes to get a traffic ticket or to get pulled over by a police officer and issued a citation, but the studies have shown that anywhere in those areas where we are aggressive in our enforcement, crashes go down. Anywhere that we are not seen or in the area, crashes go up. It’s a lot of common sense and it’s a thing that we take very, very seriously.”

It’s all part of an effort to cut down on the number of crashes in the state. Police say the number of crashes and deaths in rural areas has increased this year and they believe that ramping up traffic enforcement could be the key to stopping this trend.

“We’re going to be looking for a lot of different behaviors,” he said, noting that most of the crashes are attributed to motorists driving off the right side of the road, failing to yield right-of-way, disregarding traffic signals, driving too fast and drifting left of the center line..”

Durnil also made note of the fact that there are many rural roadways in both Owen and Monroe counties that have little traffic flow, other than local residents who make their homes there.

“There aren’t a lot of people going out into these rural areas because they don’t have any business out there, so that’s where the unpredictability comes into play,” Durnil said. “So instead of focusing on those roads way out in the county, we’re going to look at roads running through places like Harrodsburg and Patricksburg,

Freedom, those kinds of little bitty burgs that will have more traffic than those outward areas.”

The ISP will begin what they call “an aggressive traffic violation enforcement program” that will use marked and unmarked police cars, along with stealth patrol vehicles, helicopters and police vehicles that look like Indiana Department of Transportation trucks to increase contact with drivers.

“We’re not trying to sneak up on anybody. It’s not entrapment,” Durnil said. “We want to observe people and how they are driving in their natural habitat. Obviously, when the teacher walks back into the classroom the students are going to straighten up. We want to see what the students are doing when the teacher is not there. Of course, they’re not going to commit blatant violations in front of a fully-marked police car, so we want to see what their natural behavior is without us being there. The more aggressive we are with our enforcement of these laws, the less folks are likely to be involved in crashes.”

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