News

Troopers made their presence known in ’07

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Despite having less troopers patrolling the roads, Washington State Patrol (WSP) District 8, Kitsap County still posted impressive numbers for 2007.

WSP recently released the 2007 statistics for District 8, Kitsap County. More than 20 troopers worked both day and night to produce the following statistics:

• 908 DUI arrests

• 9,398 speeding tickets issued — a 2.8 percent increase from 2006

• 1,955 seat belt tickets issued — a 6.9 percent increase from 2006

• 2,156 aggressive drivers cited — a 32 percent increase from 2006

• Number of collisions down almost 10 percent from 2006

• Drug arrests up nearly 10 percent from 2006

WSP Trooper Krista Hedstrom said despite having five vacant trooper positions last year, the agency was able to increase its number of speeding and seat belt tickets issued as well as cite more aggressive drivers.

“This year we’ve had quite a few less troopers than we’ve had in past years, but we were still able to bring those numbers up,” Hedstrom said.

She said WSP acquired a new aggressive driving vehicle last year which helped boost the number of aggressive drivers contacted and cited in 2007.

“I think part of it is we did get another aggressive driving vehicle and not only that but we’re looking out for them more,” she said. “Even with less troopers we were able to contact more aggressive drivers.”

By citing more aggressive drivers, the number of collisions on Kitsap County roadways decreased by 10 percent.

“Collisions are down because of that (citing aggressive drivers) and we’re taking more enforcement on violations that cause collisions,” Hedstrom said.

Hedstrom said District 8 hopes to fill the five vacant positions this spring and put more troopers on the roadways.

“We’re just really short-staffed. We have five vacancies right now that need to be filled, so hopefully those will get filled when our next class graduates from the academy in April,” she said.

Hedstrom said WSP already has a strategic plan in place for 2008 and with the potential increase of District 8 troopers, the agency has a good chance of citing more aggressive drivers and ticketing more speeding or unbuckled motorists.

“I believe that they (numbers) will (go up) with more troopers out there on the road,” Hedstrom said.

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