SAVANNAH, GA (August 9, 2012) Every officer becomes a traffic unit when Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police initiates a 90-day High Visibility Enforcement operation next week.

 Police Chief Willie Lovett asked traffic division commander Lt. Greg Mitchell to organize the effort after multiple traffic accidents recently with serious and/or fatal injuries.

 The initiative begins Monday when every marked SCMPD unit will be asked to focus on traffic around them and take action when violations or dangerous situations are identified.

 “Occasionally, we have to remind drivers and pedestrians alike that they need to take responsibility for their own safety and the dangers they place upon others,” Lovett said.

 Only six fatalities have been reported in traffic incidents in the SCMPD jurisdiction so far this year but Lovett reacted to a high number of collisions with serious injuries.

 Officers in all marked police units issue traffic citations when violations are noted, but most other than traffic units usually are focused on other areas of law enforcement.

 Under Mitchell’s plan, all marked units will be looking for violators and taking action.

 “We are asking all units to focus at least an hour of each tour of duty on traffic enforcement,” Mitchell said. “In the process, officers are encouraged to look beyond the traffic citation for criminal activity.”

 He noted that officers commonly identify other illegal activities during traffic stops, from illegal substances to weapons to suspicious items.

 “The purpose is to help reduce serious injuries and death,” Mitchell said. “But it can help solve other issues as well.”

 All citations issues and arrests made will be recorded to determine the success of the program once it has completed.

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