Sheriff’s Traffic Team Making a Difference
April 01, 2008
Contact: Elise Schaffer, PIO
Phone: (608) 284-6142
Madison, WI. April 1, 2008 – It’s been two weeks since the Dane County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Team has doubled in size. The three additional traffic team members started patrolling on March 16th, enhancing an already successful program started in 2005.
With the additional personnel, the Sheriff’s Office is able to focus more traffic enforcement on the problematic beltline, while still keeping the rural roads in Dane County as a high priority. The six deputies are allowed a flexible schedule and operate in unmarked squads in order to make their presence more unpredictable. Unless extreme situations arise, these deputies do not respond to calls for service, but focus solely on traffic safety, a high priority for Sheriff David Mahoney who requested the additional deputies in the 2008 budget.
As has been the case since the traffic teams inception in 2005, many of their stops serve as prime examples of the danger drivers face while traveling on Dane County roads everyday. On Wednesday, March 5th at 11:00 am, a traffic team deputy arrested Herman Lee Doucet, age 39 of Fitchburg, for Operating Under the Influence of a Restricted Controlled Substance after a concerned citizen reported his erratic driving. He was stopped on the beltline, where drug paraphernalia was found in his vehicle. He was also cited for Failure to Maintain Control and Open Intoxicants in a Motor Vehicle. Subsequent investigation revealed that Doucet had been involved in a minor crash in Milwaukee before driving to Madison that morning.
On Monday, March 24th, Jeffrey A. Schwartz, age 22 of Madison, was stopped when a traffic team deputy caught him going 85 mph in a 55 mph zone on HWY 12 near University Avenue. He was also cited for operating with a suspended drivers license. At the time of the stop his small infant was in the back seat of the vehicle.
On Wednesday, March 26th, Justin Hodges, age 22 of Madison, was ticked $438.00 for driving 77 mph in a 35 mph zone on CTH AB at Karmichael Court in the town of Blooming Grove. He was also cited for driving with a suspended license and given a warning for a cracked windshield. These examples may sound extraordinary, but unfortunately they are not.
These are the types of stops Dane County traffic team deputies are making on a regular basis. To date in 2008, 8 people have lost their lives in traffic crashes in Dane County, down from 11 at this time last year. It is the goal of the Sheriff’s Office to continue to bring that number down…not by writing more tickets…but by changing driver behavior.