In City Manager Steven Falk's "Friday Summary" Lafayette Police Chief Eric Christensen recounted his early days making neighborhoods safer as a young patrol officer with a radar gun.
"I was once approached by a citizen who told me she was afraid that someone would be injured or killed by traffic in her neighborhood," the chief writes. "She told me that neighbors were speeding uncontrollably down her street without concern for the children who played in the area. I agreed to take a look at the problem and, the next day, parked my patrol car in front of her house, turned on my radar unit and went to work. She was right."
Christensen said his work that day quickly took on the aura of spectator sport, with the frustrated neighbors turning out to plant their lawn chairs and watch the citations fly.
"From inside my car, I could hear the neighbors, as a car approached, commenting on whether it would get stopped," he continued. "If the lights on the patrol car came on, the crowd would cheer - if they didn’t, I would hear a low sigh. It sounded like people watching fireworks!"
Pretty soon they were doing the wave with each successful stop, and what Patch wouldn't give for a video of that. After awhile Christensen said the speeders learned their lesson - or at least that he was in the area - and the citations slowed to a trickle. He said he moved on to other target-rich environments but came back to the "hood" to find that the habits of drivers who treated 25mph streets "like Turn Three at Taladega" had been broken.
We liked that, and after seeing two fatal crashes on our quiet suburban street, we empathized with the harried neighbor who called on that young local patrolman in the first place.
If your street is like "Turn Three," email Chief Christensen or give the department a call at (925) 283-3680.