Officers of the Cicero Police Department are participating in Operation Pull Over (OPO) in conjunction with the Hamilton County Traffic Safety Partnership. The Hamilton County Traffic Safety Partnership (HCTSP) is a consortium of law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County working to increase the usage of seatbelts, to combat aggressive driving, and to decrease impaired driving with the overall goal of creating a safer Hamilton County.
Cicero joins the Noblesville Police Department, Fishers Police Department, Carmel Police Department, and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department in participating in the partnership. The Indiana State Police Department also assists in this program.
Impaired driving is one of our nation’s most frequently committed violent crimes. Just in Indiana in 2009, alcohol-related traffic crashes killed 157 people, accounting for approximately twenty-five percent of all fatal crashes. An unfortunate reality is that about one-third of all of Indiana’s traffic fatalities involve alcohol-related crashes.
About 1200 people are convicted of an impaired driving offense annually in Hamilton County alone, and nearly 200 of those are repeat offenders. For example, in 2010 in Hamilton County, the State filed 1,310 charges of operating while intoxicated, of which, 176 involved drivers who had prior convictions within the last five years.
The HCTSP uses two primary tools to meet its goals and accomplish its mission. The Partnership schedules overtime, multi-agency drunk-driving saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints on a regular basis to prevent further tragedies and deter the impaired driver. The saturation patrols consist of officers who rove the streets looking for these offenders and thereby saturate a particular area with patrol officers.
These same departments also use a method of enforcement known as sobriety checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints have proven successful in both raising awareness of impaired driving and reducing the likelihood of a person driving after they have been drinking.
OPO is funded through the Governor’s Council on Dangerous and Impaired Driving, a division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. Officers who participate in OPO initiatives or “blitzes” have received specialized training and certification in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Traffic Occupant Protection Strategies (TOPS).