Following its inheritance of traffic investigations on all 800 miles of its county roads, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office has responded by establishing a traffic unit.
Led by Sgt. Brad Mandeville (whose brother Cam is a lieutenant with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, by the way), the 6-man unit is capable of conducting all crash investigations, as well as provide an enforcement presence in the mostly rural county, where open roads and high speeds can have deadly consequences.
The sheriff’s office says Mason County — which lost help from the Washington State Patro in conducting investigations on county roads in July — had the fourth highest rate of drunken driving fatality crashes per capita between 1993 and 2003.
Here’s more on the topic from the sheriff’s office:
In 2006, there were 1,035 collisions in all of Mason County. There were 15 fatalities with 5 of those fatalities occurring on County Roads. 307 of those collisions occurred on County Roads.
According to unit supervisor, Sergeant Brad Mandeville, “We are already making a difference. Total traffic citations have increased this year to 662 from 480 for the same time last year and the total number of violator contacts have increased from 1230 to 1568 so far this year. Our increased activity will certainly result in safer county roads.”
The new traffic squad will also be tapping into the high-tech “e-ticket” system, in which they’ll be able to electronically file traffic tickets to the court rather than write them out.
And in addition to their work on the roads, the traffic deputies will keep an eye on sex offenders, making sure they’re living in their registered addresses.
Here’s Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury’s thoughts on the new traffic division:
“The formation of the traffic unit is having several positive effects on public safety in Mason County. First, it is allowing us to take a more proactive roll in detecting and apprehending criminals and traffic violators. Bad guys drive cars and we are catching them as they drive. Our efficiency in monitoring registered sex offenders and service of civil process has improved. This in turn allows our patrol deputies to answer calls for service in a more efficient and timely fashion. We expect our traffic fatality rate and drinking driver involved fatality rate will decrease over time.”