MILWAUKEE - It has been called an epidemic in Milwaukee, but is any progress being made to curb reckless driving in the city?
FOX6 News covered the launch of the police department's Traffic Safety Unit and even did a ride along. Two months in, we're getting a sense of what's working within the TSU.
"We have been out there, enforcing the laws – reaching out to community groups, reaching out to our elected officials," Capt. Jeffrey Sunn, who oversees the unit, said.
There are 20 officers deployed daily to specifically look for reckless driving. Where they go has largely been up to the community. With the rollout of the TSU website, citizens are able to drop a pin on the map and alert police to areas with chronic issues.
"Citizens can report issues of reckless driving and speeding – that is taken into account when we do our deployments," said Sunn.
MPD Traffic Safety Unit website
From the end of February through this week, Sunn said his officers have issued more than 4,500 speeding tickets, 32 operating while intoxicated citations and more than 1,400 driver's license citations. Still, there is more work to be done.
"Fatal accidents in the city of Milwaukee year-to-date are up 41%. Last year at this time, we had 17 fatalities in regards to accidents. To date, we are at 24," Sunn said.
Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Traffic Safety Unit (TSU)
Sunn added overall accidents are down, but the department can't just ticket through these problems. It is relying heavily on education, added signs and enhanced road designs as ways to not only yield reckless drivers – but stop them altogether.
"The gauge of success is to be able to drive down the street and not have to deal with a reckless driver and feel as if you’re taking your own life in your hands every time you get behind the wheel of your car," said Sunn.
The busy holiday weekend will not mean more officers from the TSU on the street. Sunn said staffing levels will remain the same through the weekend as it pertains to reckless driving.