CHINO VALLEY – More than 300 motorists were stopped for speeding by Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Chino Valley Police Department officers Monday and Wednesday as the town started its Speed Reduction Campaign.
DPS assisted the town by assigning an airplane and officers in eight vehicles to patrol the area of Highway 89 within town limits. The southern border of the town is near the Outer Loop Road and the northern border is about four miles north of Road 5 North, a stretch of about nine miles.
With DPS on the highway, the town's police officers concentrated on apprehending speeders on side streets. Town officers are using some unmarked vehicles to cite speeding drivers.
Dave Kuns, assistant chief, said DPS officers and town police cited 147 drivers for speeding, and issued 166 warnings during the two days. Officers also issued 52 repair orders and 11 tickets for non-moving violations. They assisted seven motorists; issued three arrest warrants, and inspected 13 commercial vehicles. Six of those commercial vehicles were put out of service.
At a recent town council meeting, members voted to finance the program to reduce the number of traffic accidents, injuries, fatalities and property damage associated with unsafe speed.
Town police said several people have been killed, and several more suffered critical injuries during the past year within town limits on Highway 89.
"We are declaring war on people who speed within the town limits," said Pat Huntsman, police chief. "It is unacceptable to speed in Chino Valley."
To raise awareness of the "war against people who speed," the town is planning a poster and slogan contest at the elementary and middle school levels, and will also produce bumper stickers. New signs will go at northern and southern town limits, and police will issue more citations and fewer warnings. The town's citizen patrol will get involved by identifying safe drivers for recognition.
Business owners will be asked to sponsor new signage designed to educate the public about the consequences of speeding.
The speed reduction campaign is a result of citizen complaints, Huntsman said.
"The citizens are tired of the speeding that goes on in our town. We know some people will be upset with ticketing, but we all live here together in this small community, and we have got to slow down," she said. "We are asking for voluntary compliance from our residents and visitors."
Town council members also approved funding to educate the community about the town's Noise Abatement Ordinance Program.
Ordinance No. 429 defined "noise offenses" and stipulated penalties for excessive noise from "boom boxes" and "jake breaking."
Boom boxes heard beyond 50 feet, jake breaking and general loud noises between midnight and 5 a.m. are class 1 misdemeanors. Loud mufflers are a civil traffic offense.
The maximum fine for a class 1 misdemeanor is $2,500 plus surcharges, six months in jail, three years probation and restitution. The council set a minimum penalty of $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $1,000 for the third offense, with minimum fines applying only to excessive noise from boom boxes.
The town will erect signage informing the public about the noise abatement law, and will educate citizens about how to ensure valid prosecution of violators in the court system.
Citizens who report violations of Noise Ordinance No. 429 must be willing to testify in court, and must provide positive identification of the driver and vehicle, accurate license plate number, and the date, time and location of the offense.