Police increase school traffic patrol

-A A +A

Stop-sign runners, speeders targeted

By Nick Schrager

Stop means stop, and that’s what Springfield Police want you to understand.

For the past three weeks, officer Charlie Osbourne has been stopping cars as they roll through stop signs on Springfield city streets each morning. Osbourne has been patrolling the intersection of West High Street and Locust Drive near St. Dominic School. He hasn’t issued a single ticket, but instead, wants to make drivers aware of the importance of safety for children in the area.

“I started three weeks ago, and the first two weeks, I averaged stopping 15 to 20 cars daily in a half-hour period. The third week, I stopped two cars the first day, and the next four days, I didn’t have to stop anybody,” Osbourne said. “I’ve got their attention. Now, if I can just hold it.”

Osbourne wants to hold that attention, especially with warmer weather on its way before too long. He said as temperatures rise, more students will be walking to and from school, and he doesn’t want anyone to get hurt.

“We’ve just been giving courtesy warnings so far, and our intention is not to write tickets, but if they continue to run stop signs, we won’t have any choice,” Osbourne said. “We’re not trying to embarrass anybody or upset anybody, we’re just trying to prevent anybody from getting hurt. I’ve been telling everybody we’re going to start writing tickets today (Monday). We don’t want to have to do that, but we will if necessary.”

Another area Osbourne has been patrolling in the mornings is Commercial Avenue, the street that runs from Main Street near the Springfield Water Office and ends at Washington County elementary and high schools. He said speeding on that street has become a problem, and he has stopped people doing nearly double the 25 mile-per-hour limit.

“I stopped a lady just this morning running 46 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone up there,” he said. “There are a couple of bus stops there near a stop sign off of West Virginia Ave., and if you’re going 45 or 55 miles per hour when that bus stops, you’re not going to be able to get stopped.”

Osbourne said he will also keep an eye on other locations where school traffic is a concern, including any place where school zone signs feature the flashing light and 25 miles per hour signs. He added that fines for speeding, running stop signs and other violations are doubled in a school zone. In addition to the fines for speeding, Osbourne said violations also include a $143 fee for court costs.