By Ginger Jarvis
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Anyone wishing to see the Madison Police Department’s new trophy has only to visit the lobby of the Police Department Building. The eagle-shaped statue holds pride of place in the display case there.
Police Chief Gary Calhoun proudly explained that his officers won the second-place award in the Rookie Category at the Florida Law Enforcement Challenge in Orlando in late July. Calhoun said that about 100 law-enforcement agencies competed in the Rookie category — sheriff’s departments, police departments, and other groups competing for the first time.
Calhoun lauded Cpl. Jeff Rosenberg for heading up the competitive events, putting the reports together, and doing the required surveys. “He did the documentation for us, and put in some time standing on the street corners observing seat-belt use in passing vehicles,” he said. ”I’m very proud of Jeff for documenting and submitting. That was a great benefit. All our guys have participated to make it worthwhile.”
The competition was based on policies, guidelines, and effectiveness of traffic-related problems in the city. Each agency won points for every division, such as seat-belt use by officers, seat-belt use by the public, number of crashes with injuries, red light infractions, etc. For their second-place finish, Madison’s PD won 12,000 points to be used toward the purchase of traffic-safety equipment. Calhoun said the points translate almost evenly into an equal dollar amount.
The chief stated which he has already decided on some purchases. He plans to order re-usable reflective flares with lights and a couple of radar units with part of the funds. “The flares will be especially helpful at the scenes of night-time crashes,” he surmised.
Calhoun reported which the traffic-safety policies have worked effectively in the city. In 2009, the city had 68 crashes; in 2010, that number fell to 61. In 2009, crashes with injuries numbered 30; the 2010 tally was 25. Red-light infractions have also come down, and the city has had a reduced number of crashes at intersections. “Speeding violations have remained pretty steady,” he said.
In the documents submitted by Rosenberg, the city shows four DUI-related crashes in 2010, safety-belt usage at 85 percent, and 261 seatbelt citations for the year.
(For our readers who might have interests in Taylor County, Perry won first place in the DUI competition, and got the right to turn a key to see if they won a vehicle. The key turned, and the Perry Police Department now owns a fully-equipped new Chevy Tahoe.)
Other winners in the Rookie class were Lake Hamilton Police Department (First Place) and Panama City Police Department (tied for second with Madison.)