Glendale Police officer chases down a motorist

A Glendale Police officer chases down a motorist who did not stop for an undercover Glendale Police officer using the crosswalk at Central and Garfield in Glendale on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / October 10, 2013)

The pressure is on for motorists to improve their driving habits as police plan to crack down on those who drive too fast, drive while drunk, or are distracted while traversing city streets.

This week, the City Council accepted a $228,000 grant from the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to pay for overtime staffing, which will oversee specialized police enforcement for speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It will also allow officers to focus on motorcycle riders.

Councilman Zareh Sinanyan welcomed the grant as a necessary tool to deal with traffic safety issues. But he added some residents may not be pleased that increased enforcement will come with additional fines.

“We have to do what we have to do to regulate this situation,” he said. “If we have to give out tickets like [they’re] candy — when it’s merited, of course — then we have to do that. I know residents are going to be unhappy. But if we are preventing injuries and deaths, I think it’s worth it.”

The grant will fund 46 police enforcement operations and traffic-related education until Sept. 30.

Seven operations will focus on DUI drivers and 14 will be aimed at motorists who are driving while talking, texting or using hand-held electronic devices.

Another 22 operations will target speeders, motorcyclists and other related violations in neighborhoods with the most collisions.

Officers also plan to use the funding to pay for a warrant task force that will focus on DUI offenders who fail to appear in court on their scheduled dates or violate their probation terms.

Two sting operations will be aimed at motorists who continue to drive despite having their driving licenses suspended or revoked.

“The thing that we find changes driving behavior most significantly is when you issue a citation,” Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

He added that the grant has allowed the police department to develop its focus on addressing the city’s traffic- and pedestrian-safety issues.

“The bottom line is it’s looking to address bad driving behavior and to educate the public about the safety issues related to being a responsible pedestrian in the city,” he said.

--

Follow Veronica Rocha on Google+ and on Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA.

ALSO:

Glendale resident files lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross

Weaver's 'Comfort Women' statue stance protested

Authorities search for alleged armed robber in Glendale, Los Angeles area