The Holly Springs Police Department is doubling down on its commitment to traffic safety by adding two traffic unit officers with the help of a federal grant.
The three-year grant will enable the department to double its traffic unit from two officers to four. Enforcement efforts include drunk driving, speeding, and seat belt violations. However, education is a major priority, with a special focus on teenage drivers.
“Traffic safety is very important to our agency,” said Capt. Mike Bornes. “We realize that with the number of residents, schools and retail establishments increasing annually, we have to be prepared to address safety concerns throughout town.”
In 2012, Holly Springs was a grand winner of AAA Carolinas' Traffic Safe Communities awards. Last year, Holly Springs was one of five N.C. towns with populations between 10,000 and 20,000 that were designated as a Traffic Safe Community. AAA Carolinas considered crash statistics, police officers per capita, and presence of formal traffic safety programs.
This fall, the Police Department will transfer two experienced officers to the traffic safety unit after hiring two officers to replace them in the patrol ranks.
The federal money comes through the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, which helped Holly Springs begin its traffic unit several years ago. The grant will be used for salaries, cars, training, and equipment.
The federal grant will cover 85 percent of costs during the first year, 70 percent the following year, and 50 percent in the third.
Last year’s traffic safety unit statistics included 117 arrests for driving while impaired; 1,100 speeding tickets; 290 seat belt infractions; and 25 child safety seat violations. In addition to patrolling Holly Springs’ roads, the traffic unit sometimes participates in multi-agency checkpoints in the county.
The traffic unit has special training in accident reconstruction. However, the overriding purpose is preventing crashes. The unit’s own “Survive-2-Drive NC” program teaches high school students about safe driving and the dangers of getting behind the wheel when impaired.
In recent months, officers have given extra attention to crosswalk safety, issuing warnings to motorists who don’t stop for pedestrians.