GPD releases data on high visibility enforcement effort

The Gainesville Police Department (GPD) engaged more than 1,200 people in the first month of its high visibility enforcement effort to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, according to GPD data released Monday. 

“The goal of this enforcement effort is to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists,” a GPD press release said. “Enforcement efforts focus primarily on education to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.”

In March the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Institute of Police Technology awarded GPD a $35,000 grant to conduct the enforcement details. FDOT supplied pamphlets for officers to distribute near high-risk areas. 

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The effort began on March 29. The initial tranche of data covered the first month, through April 29: 

  • Pedestrians contacted: 985
  • Bicyclists contacted: 39
  • Motorists contacted: 118
  • Warnings issued: 133
  • Citations issued: 2

GPD Lt. Marc Plourde said the FDOT grant was geared toward education, not citations. 

“FDOT really emphasized that this was not about enforcement,” Plourde said in a phone interview. “That’s why you see only two tickets written and 133 warnings. The contract specifically said tickets were a last resort.”

The grant covered overtime pay for officers who are carrying out the FDOT mandate. Plourde said FDOT identified 13 intersections where serious accidents—involving serious spinal injury or death—had occurred and required the GPD efforts to focus on those areas. 

The contract wasn’t directly tied to recent pedestrian fatalities on West University Avenue, but Plourde said that area was included in the education effort. 

“This came along at the right time,” Plourde said. 

The contract runs through Friday, after which Plourde will begin compiling final data. He said the project didn’t have a specific numerical goal, but the department believes it has already been a success. 

“Talking to the officers that worked it, they were very pleased,” Plourde said. 

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