Room for improvement

Opinion section
Valley News - Opinion

Chief Pat Walsh, Special to Valley News

As we approach the end of our second month as the Menifee Police Department, I am happy to report our staff is performing exceptionally. The moral is high, the solve rate of crime is high and the support of the community is second to none. I have however noticed a trend that needs improvement, driving.

You read that right, some of you are not good drivers. While most people obey the traffic laws, there are some of our neighbors that do not. As I write this letter we are at 51 days live. In that time, we have had 80 traffic accidents, two of which resulted in a fatality. At that rate, we could foreseeably have 12 fatalities in the first year if things do not change.

My vision for the Menifee Police Department is to make Menifee one of the safest cities in America. We cannot do this without the support and the help of the community. On crime, Menifee is amazingly supportive and helpful in the reporting of crime and follow through on the investigations. But that is only one piece of the puzzle. We also need our community to take an active role in keeping our roadways safe.

The main reason for accidents is speed. With wide-open, well-maintained roads, people speed. The other contributing factors are texting and driving, texting and walking, running stop signs, unsafe turns – especially left turns – running red lights and running yellow lights.

That is right, when it is yellow it means prepare to stop. It does not mean drive twice the speed limit to get through before it turns red. If you can accelerate that much, then you can brake and stop, as the yellow light is intended to indicate.

To date we have given four times as many warnings as tickets. That is about to change. If we as a community truly desire safe streets, then we have to enforce the traffic laws. My direction to my officers is to strictly enforce traffic laws, in particular those ones that are the primary reason for accidents.

We have a beautiful city full of great people. We owe it to each other to respect each other’s safety. Everyone has loved ones to get home to; drive like the other drivers are your family members.