Lieutenant Sean Mullins
Any analysis of citizen complaints would disclose that a very high portion of the calls for service is related to specific and non-specific traffic related issues. There is wide spread concern about traffic violations as they effect quality of life and public safety. The motoring public needs to feel secure in the knowledge that traffic laws will be rigorously enforced. Complaints received about specific intersections or other special circumstances that may plague a particular neighborhood must also be addressed.
The administration of police services must be prioritized. The heavy demand placed upon officers assigned to precincts mandates that traffic issues be given a lower priority than other, more serious calls for service. The low priority given to the enforcement of moving violations often means that traffic matters are not given enough attention at the precinct level. It is the task of the Traffic Unit to deal with these numerous traffic related issues.
The mainstay of the Traffic Unit is the Motorcycle Unit. These officers are trained in every aspect of traffic safety enforcement. Radar and Laser enforcement, trucking regulations, and D.W.I. enforcement are all areas where the motorcycle unit acts as expects in the field. While safety is the main concern, a by-product of enforcement is the added revenue that comes from the collection of fines. In addition to their enforcement duties, these officers are trained in the specialized skills needed to provide escort services for heavy equipment, dignitaries and large funerals.
The Hack Unit is charged with the responsibility of enforcing city codes related to taxi, buses and tow trucks. Three officers are assigned to inspect, license, and regulate the more than 620 taxi and liveries, 1350 school buses, and 100 tow trucks that conduct business in the City of Yonkers. These officers, augmented by the Motorcycle Unit, are also charged with the responsibility of enforcing those regulations. This Hack Unit brought in more than $290,000 in licensing fees in 2006.
The Hack Unit also oversees the Abandoned Auto Section, which is responsible for investigation, picking up, and salvage autos that are left abandoned on the city street. The Abandoned Unit has removed and destroyed more than 620 vehicles in 2006.
Truck and Scales Unit
Officers from the Motorcycle Unit are also trained in the enforcement of laws regulating weight limitation for commercial vehicles. Equipped with portable truck scales, officers stop and weigh trucks on the road. The enforcement of these regulations helps to reduce the travel of overweight commercial vehicles on our roadways and contributes to reducing costly road damage. In addition, these officers identify and inspect trucks carrying hazardous materials and are thoroughly knowledgeable in the Federal, State and local laws governing commercial vehicles. Summonses issued by this unit also bring in substantial revenue to the city. A typical overage summons carries a fine in excess of $500, which is collected through the Yonkers City Courts.
Accident Investigation Unit
The department currently has seven certified accident investigation experts who can provide in-depth analysis of serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents. The New York City Police Department’s Highway Division, New York State Accident Reconstruction Society, and the New York State Bureau of Municipal Police have certified these officers. In addition, they are also required to be Certified New York State Motor Vehicle Inspectors.
To receive these certifications, the Officers are trained in many aspects of this specific science. They must be schooled in trigonometry, algebra, calculus and geometry as these disciplines relate to motor vehicles. They must be thoroughly knowledgeable in auto mechanics, kinetics, motion, physics, biomechanics, evidence preservation and have a general knowledge of the laws that permitting the police to conduct such investigations. Their investigations have led to increased indictment of motor vehicles offenses.
School Crossing Guards
During the school year the Special Operations Division, provides crossing guards to insure the safety of students while crossing busy streets in school zones and report to the traffic unit any vehicular problems that may arise. In conjunction with the traffic unit and the traffic engineer, the director of the school crossing guards surveys school zones to determine the needs for any signs or traffic control devices. Training for crossing guards are extensive and covers a wide range of traffic safety issues.
Yearly Traffic Programs
During the course of the year, the Traffic Unit, participates in various state, county, and local programs designed to make motoring as safe as possible. These programs include “Stop D.W.I.”, “Click It or Ticket Checkpoint”, “Vehicle Equipment Checkpoints” and Numerous Speed Enforcement Checkpoints. These programs have successfully resulted in arrests of operators with suspended or revoked licenses, wanted on warrant, or intoxicated and removed these vehicles off the roadways.