Orland Park Police Department Earns First Place Honors for Traffic Safety Challenge

Orland Park Police Department Earns First Place Honors for Traffic Safety Challenge
Posted on 06/15/2018

The Orland Park Police Department received first place honors in the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Challenge for agencies with 66 to 100 personnel. The department also won the Distracted Driving Specialty Award for 2017.

"The Orland Park Police Department is very proactive with its public education campaigns," said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village's Public Safety Committee. "These statewide honors are a testament to the men and women of the Orland Park Police Department who are committed to traffic safety in our community."

Members of the department's Traffic Safety Unit prepared an extensive presentation detailing the department's traffic safety efforts during the past year. Topics addressed included the department's efforts to promote safety belt use, correctly installing child safety seats, speed enforcement, impaired driving enforcement and distracted driving.

"Our personnel used a number of strategies to meet the traffic safety challenge goals to reduce crashes and reduce roadway safety," said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. "They identified intersections with the highest crash volume and the beat with the most crashes, targeting them for increased traffic enforcement. The result was an overall decrease in crashes in the village and in the targeted areas."

The Traffic Safety Unit used crash data to identify areas with the highest number of crashes. Increased traffic enforcement and public safety education for officers and the public were two key parts of the initiative.

"This was a yearlong, department wide effort to increase traffic safety in the village," said Lieutenant Tom Hottinger, supervisor of the department's Traffic Safety Unit. "We have new programs for 2018, including our current Bicycle Safety Program, and new ideas to stop distracted drivers --- the number one cause of crashes."

The two Orland Park intersections with the highest crash volume included 159th Street and 94th Avenue and 159th Street and 71st Court. These intersections, along with Beat #5, were targeted with increased enforcement.

"Hands on enforcement in key areas had a significant impact on Orland Park's numbers," McCarthy said. "This, coupled with the public education efforts and use of social media, has helped us reach drivers of all ages. Social media gives the department a local audience as well as viewers from around the world as our public safety messages are viewed and shared."

The award application also included officer training, policy and guidelines, incentives, public information and education, enforcement and the effectiveness of the department's efforts.

During 2017, the Orland Park Police Department saw a decrease in crashes related to speed, DUI, personal injury and property damage. The department responded to 1220 speed related crashes in 2017 compared to 1378 in 2016. In 2017, the department saw an 11% decrease in the number of motor vehicle crashes caused by speeding.

In his congratulatory letter to McCarthy, Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge Director Scott Kristiansen wrote, "We commend your commitment to highway safety in your community. Your efforts serve as an example to other agencies as we continue our work to make Illinois' roads safer places to travel."

Orland Park will accept its statewide honors in mid-August.