Week 2 of the Citizen’s Academy covered patrols and traffic enforcement.
Considering the size of Wyoming, there are usually only 6 or 7 cars on patrol per shift. WPD is somewhat below the national average for officers per 1000 citizens, and that number will only continue to get worse with the retirement of the Deputy Chief, whose position will not be filled. The expansion of the city west towards the Metro Health area has placed additional strain on the coverage, since less than 10 years ago, most of that was all farmland, and now its a high traffic zone with the hospital and M6. Wyoming officers will not unlock your car if you lock your keys inside, unless there is a child locked in the car. They explained that because of the increasing complexity of the insides of car doors, and the fact that they had some ‘unsatisfied customers’, its become too large of a liability issue, and they will refer you to a tow company.
MPO Dave Thompson is head of traffic enforcement, and did an excellent job explaining the most common issues he would run into on patrol. He assured the class that there is no ‘monthly quota’ for tickets, since generating a revenue stream from tickets is illegal, and they have no problems as it is writing 20 tickets an hour with 12-15mph-over today. Of every ticket, no matter the infraction, $49 immediately goes to Lansing, whatever is left over comes back to the city.
Current patrol cars are the standard Crown Vics, but they are transitioning to Chargers, as Ford would not commit to continuing a police package for the CV (and as one officer put it – Chargers ‘go like crazy’). Loadout for a car is a satchel containing tools & safety supplies, interior roof mounted shotgun (loaded with slugs, buckshot in car), M4 rifle in the trunk, and computer & radio equipment. In addition to a .40 cal sidearm and pepper spray, officers carry a Taser. Seeing one up close, they are a lot smaller than I was expecting. The barbs do not look at all pleasant to be hit with (like fishhook barbs, but larger).
I am looking forward to week 3. (I’ll put together a writeup for week 1 later, it was mostly introductions)