Traffic Safety Unit aims to curb violations

by Laura Bednar

The Sagamore Hills Police Traffic Safety Unit reached its one-year anniversary after forming last summer as a result of residents’ complaints of speeders in the neighborhoods.

A team of three police officers, overseen by Sgt. Ken Wolf, react to concerns about speeding and other traffic violations.

“We have three very motivated officers making sure Sagamore is as safe as possible,” said Wolf.

Police Chief David Hayes said the unit cruises neighborhoods to issue warnings or citations when needed. “Officers are there at the request of those in the neighborhood,” he said.

When the department receives a traffic complaint, it is sent to Wolf, who develops a course of action and keeps the resident informed on progress. Traffic-related complaints can be sent through email or by calling township police.

The unit was not created to issue tickets, which are given at the discretion of each officer, but to educate motorists about road rules and why they were stopped. Wolf said at times a driver doesn’t realize what the speed limit is in a particular area. Officers look for speeders, drivers running stop signs, driving under suspension and any other traffic violations under the Ohio Revised Code.

The majority of this work is done during officers’ regular shift hours. The program includes moving two speed trailers to various roads throughout the township. Sagamore purchased two speed trailers last spring using COVID-19 relief funds. The trailers digitally flash the speed limit and the speed of passing vehicles.

Hayes said the trailers are positioned in areas where there have been significant complaints and remain for roughly a week before being moved to a new location. He added that the police department does not collect data from the trailers. The hope is that drivers see their speed and slow down next time they are in that area.

To assist with the unit’s work, the township purchased a Ford F-150 pickup truck in February 2022. It was delivered this July and is used to haul the speed trailers, cones and other equipment. Hayes said a pickup truck stands out from regular police cruisers so residents can see when officers are active in the neighborhood.

Areas for monitoring are largely dependent on complaints, but Wolf said the unit travels township-wide to enforce traffic laws. Hayes said he tracks the unit’s success by the number of complaints, which have dropped since the unit’s creation.

“The unit has slowed people down,” said Wolf.

The Traffic Safety Unit also promotes safety in other ways. Wolf said the three-officer team will soon earn certification to install children’s car safety seats. Hayes said the unit has already assisted with events in the township, such as the summer garage sales at Eaton Estate, where officers ensured cars were parked correctly and traffic moved safely.

“We will continue this unit as long as I’m here,” said Hayes. “Any ideas to benefit residents, we will look into.” ∞

On our cover (photo): Officers that make up the Traffic Safety Unit (l-r) Robert Patterson, Glenn Lucore, Ryan Shelby and Sgt. Ken Wolf stand with the unit’s new pickup truck and speed trailers. Photo courtesy of David Hayes.