MILWAUKEE — To try and lessen the prevalence of reckless driving, the Milwaukee Police Department created a Traffic Safety Unit task force. MPD unveiled this new effort at the beginning of March.
It consists of a team of 20 officers who work full-time, and are solely focused on patrolling for reckless driving.
Two of the officers on the team are Douglas Crowder and Anthony Gifford. TMJ4 was able to work alongside them for a day to get a feel for what they do every day.
“We’re looking for everything from speeding and running stoplights and stop signs, to what we call baselining, which is driving in the bicycle lane,” said Officer Crowder. “We also look for swerving between lanes, cutting other cars off, things like that.”
To put the problem in perspective, traffic deaths in Milwaukee more than doubled from 2019 to 2020.
During the same time, MPD wrote at least 20 percent more reckless driving citations.
“The idea is if people see more police out here, they will slow down and be more careful,” said Officer Gifford. “We get sent to different areas of the city where people have been reporting reckless driving, and based on data from previous crashes and reckless driving citations.”
We were there as Officers Crowder and Gifford pulled over drivers for going at least 20 over the speed limit near 6th and Greenfield. Those tickets come at a cost of $150.
“We have a website that community members can go to and they can put in where they observed reckless driving,” said Officer Crowder. “You can include a description of the car, or just share a street or general area that’s really bad. A huge asset we have is utilizing input from the community and public.”
Just in the past few weeks, MPD’s Traffic Safety Unit has received nearly 1,500 messages from concerned community members about specific dangerous intersections and reckless driving they witnessed.
If you’d like to send a message, the link to that website is: mpdtsu.org.