The Havana Police Department has once again placed high in the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) annual Law Enforcement Challenge, coming in at second place for a police department of their size - nine to 16 officers - in the 2013 competition.
The department will receive $12,000 to equip a new patrol car with a special light bar, and other additions to the car. “This will save the department several thousands of dollars (by doing it this way) instead of purchasing a car already equipped,” said Chief Tracy Smith. Other traffic safety equipment will also be purchased, he said.
“The Law Enforcement Challenge is based on several components, including the number of tickets (given for lack of or improperly used safety belts) in the Click-it-or-Ticket program; the number of DUIs (Driving Under the Influence) tickets and DUI programs like checkpoints; and adding points for having no fatalities,” said the chief. Smith said the department also received points for having fewer crashes with injuries. “It’s a joint effort of all three programs,” Chief Smith.
“Added to the checkpoints are the number of news releases sent out and saturation patrols performed.” he said.
“Our primary goal is to protect and serve our citizens through enforcement of Florida’s traffic laws using these programs. Remember, our overall objective is to protect and serve the citizens using warnings, either written or verbal, and citations to improve or change drivers’ behavior for citizens’ safety,” said Chief Smith. Along with the chief attending the challenge at the Rose & Shingle Resort in Orlando were Sgt. Shaun Pye, Sgt. Donterris Andrews and Sgt. Khang Bui.
Havana has placed in the top three in nearly all of the challenges they have entered over the years, including being selected for first place and winning an SUV in the 2003 challenge. Chief Smith estimates the total value of prizes won over the years at around $100,000. “We thank FDOT for holding these challenges to improve and aid drivers’ behavior on the streets of Florida through the prizes of vehicles and funding of traffic safety equipment,” said Smith.
There were sixteen departments vying in their category of all departments in the state having nine to 16 officers. “We congratulate our neighboring police department in Midway who won third place statewide in this same category, as well as neighboring Tallahassee Police Department for getting first place in their category, winning a fully-equipped Chevrolet Impala and $14,000 for traffic safety equipment, in their efforts to protect and serve citizens,” said Smith.