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New Year to Bring Debut of New Traffic Safety Team in Dane County

For more information contact:

Joshua Wescott Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/28/2007

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
County Executive, Sheriff Discuss Creation of Second Team Focused Solely on Roads

(Madison)….County Executive Kathleen Falk and Sheriff Dave Mahoney held a news conference Friday to talk about the new Traffic Safety Team that will start patrolling in 2008.

“There’s one reason this new team of deputies dedicated solely to enforcing traffic laws was the sheriff’s top budget priority and the county board and I fully funded it in the budget; too many lives are lost on our roads,” Falk said.

50 people have been killed in crashes in Dane County so far in 2007. That’s six more than 2006. 19 of the highway deaths this year have been directly attributed to alcohol. According to state figures, there are nearly 800 crashes involving drunk drivers in Dane County each year.

“While Dane County leads the way in a number of areas we’re proud of, this is one distinction the sheriff and I would like to do away with,” Falk said.

Falk put in the 2008 county budget $380,000 to add three new deputy positions to staff the new Traffic Safety Team and purchase new squad cars and radar equipment for the officers.

“The abuse of alcohol by people who get behind the wheel is our greatest public safety threat,” Falk said. “We have three to four times more alcohol related traffic fatalities than murders in Dane County each year.”

Falk’s 2005 budget funded Dane County’s first Traffic Safety Team. Because of its success, dollars for a second team of patrol deputies focused solely on enforcement traffic laws were included in the 2008 budget.

Falk and Mahoney also discussed the efforts of law enforcement over the upcoming New Years holiday.

"I look forward to celebrating a new year of decreased traffic crashes and loss of life on Dane County roads. Enjoy the holiday and if you plan to drink, designate a sober driver or take a cab. And as always, obey the speed limits and wear your seatbelt," Mahoney said.

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