Motorcycle Team Cites Dozens In Lafayette

Lafayette, it seems, is a "target-rich environment" for the city's new motorcycle officers — known to us only as officers Shaman and Vu.

It didn't take long for Lafayette's new two bike traffic enforcement team to bag an offender, Police Chief Mike Hubbard told his city manager, and more than 90 others quickly followed in just the first week of two-wheeled enforcement.

Hubbard informed Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk that the enforcement team took to the streets July 15 at 8:14:42 (presumably a.m.) and by 8:14:59 had netted its first scofflaw -"

(No matter what your position is on the enforcement effort, you have to admit it's a good thing to bag people who see nothing wrong with manipulating a mini-keyboard while navigating our roads in several tons of steel at 60 mph).

Hubbard reported that "more than 90 people have been (un)lucky enough to obtain a personal meeting with " in their first week on patrolling local roads.

"While those who received citations aren’t thrilled, many, many more people are thanking them for working in their neighborhoods," Falk wrote in his weekly summary. "They’re waving to me with all five fingers," said one officer, "and are glad that we’re finally doing something about the high speeds on our winding two-lane streets."

Hubbard said the motorcycle program enables the Lafayette police to enforce traffic regulations on roads that had been difficult if not impossible to work successfully, such as Moraga and St. Mary’s roads.

One driver reportedly asked Vu after being stopped for speeding on St. Mary’s Road: “Why did you stop me? Don’t you know that everyone speeds on this road?”

The chief said his department will deploy the motorcycles  starting in August on two-lane neighborhood roads on which it is difficult or impossible to use a patrol car.

"Once September rolls around, when school starts, we’ll concentrate our enforcement around the elementary schools and target drivers that threaten our kids," Hubbard told Falk.

The Police Department will work with schools to determine which locations have  posed the most problems, such as Moraga Road near Lafayette Elementary School, and Happy Valley Road.

Robert L July 25, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Ignition interlock operation is CS? Seriously? Considering that the device is used to keep previous DUI offenders from AGAIN driving drunk, I would be okay with vehicle impoundment if the violation occured. I'm guessing whoever complained to you (assuming it wasn't you) failed the attitude test when their ignition interlock was found tampered with, and the officer performed a most diligent traffic code inspection. Pick a better example of CS if you want us to consider the argument.
Michael Taylor July 25, 2011 at 05:16 PM
@Robert L Well, now you're starting to tick me off. Both EXCUSES used to pull over a young girl. Neither resulted in a cite mainly because the system you mention wasn't in place and the girl had never had a single infraction on her driving record much less a DUI. How about the ball hitch? Hmm? That's a real capital crime for you. So AGAIN, I repeat, Robert - if you're going to cite offenders do it with my thanks and support, but DON'T manufacture excuses to pull people over. Believe me, from what I've seen there's enough of a offending population out there to keep the officers busy.
Tony Rodriguez July 25, 2011 at 05:28 PM
If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
doadeeer July 25, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Some make their own rules, I never see them stopped by an officer receiving a ticket.
doadeeer July 25, 2011 at 05:53 PM
I completely agree with you.
doadeeer July 25, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Why did this have to turn so political? It is really about cops giving out tickets to people who are breaking the law! Red light runner's are a main concern of mine and see it all the time. It's about making our streets safer, maybe we should review the CDL driver's handbook. I had to take the online traffic school a while back for a speeding ticket I received, there were a lot of rules that I had forgotten about, and some new ones that I didn't know about.
doadeeer July 25, 2011 at 06:01 PM
I love the part where you said "the speed limit sign is your warning."
Robert L July 25, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Sorry you're ticked off. Your initial post complained about 'issuing chickensh*t tickets', not manufacturing excuses to make a stop. I wasn't there, so a debate is not in order, but I'm guessing there is more to the story. If there isn't, I would agree completely with you that the officer was imposing his/her bad day upon another person. I would think that they could find someone speeding in a School Zone to impose their bad day upon, instead of an obscured license plate. All of that having been said, it seems that you and I are both in agreement on the benefit of two Motorcyle Traffic Officers, given that they enforce laws, and not impose subjective justice. As I think of it, that would be a good rule for all Law Enforcement Officers, no?
bryan July 25, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Because this is Lamorinda, Dorothy and EVERYTHING is political in Lamorinda!
Robert L July 25, 2011 at 06:23 PM
By the way, before your post, I had no idea that leaving a ball-hitch on a car could result in a citation. I removed mine this morning and set it inside. So, thank you to you and Lamorinda Patch for potentially saving me. My car is in Oakland a lot, and parking enforcement is notorious for finding extra items...
Michael Taylor July 25, 2011 at 06:52 PM
@ Robert L Yay! Common ground! I agree we need some good people out on the streets to rein in some among us who behave irresponsibly while driving - well, anytime where someone else would be endangered too. I also know that sometimes officers will use a broken tail light or somesuch to authorize a traffic stop in order to question drivers they suspect of additional offenses. But given the recent and really, really troubling (to me at least) allegations of Officer Misconduct within the CoCoSheriff's Deep I would feel better having this done out in the open and without any room for doubt or question. I'm probably not making myself very clear, but I think using decoys and on duty officers to set up busts in order to make a divorce case a downright scary abuse of police power and trust. It'[s a tough, dirty job and I support the people who do it, but I want to make sure they knew they are working for us and WITH us. Thanks!
Amanda July 25, 2011 at 09:09 PM
What "serious crimes"?! There are plenty: lots of meth, prostitution, DUIs, not to mention all the residential burglaries and car thefts. You should talk to the cops some time or read the police blotter. Or maybe just read The Patch.
doadeeer July 26, 2011 at 03:41 AM
I had a really good friend "avid cyclist" hit and killed on Skyline, it was a hit and run, they never found the motorist. I always look out for the cyclist, they are much more vulnerable, however the arrogant rider who thinks the don't have to follow the rules make it look bad for all. I spoke with one of the motorcycle cops today and was told that many don't realize that the people who are getting the tickets and bringing in the revenue are people from out of town....Not always the residents.
doadeeer July 26, 2011 at 03:43 AM
Happy face :)
lamorinda mom July 28, 2011 at 05:54 AM
Another resident saying if you aren't speeding, if you aren't texting, if you aren't talking on the phones without a hands free device - you won't get a ticket. The rules are very clear and apply to all of us, so I don't have a problem with enforcement of the laws/rules!
CJ July 28, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Selective tax increase-That's all it is.
Peter Armstrong July 28, 2011 at 05:47 PM
That's exactly what we need! I live on Brook and the stop signs are routinely run, especially at Brook and Hough. That enforcement needs all the attention it can get.
Robert Strauss August 04, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Man they are ALL OVER Moraga road this morning. And plenty of customers!!
lovelafayette August 05, 2011 at 05:31 AM
Cop told me today that over 50 speeding tickets have been given on Moraga Road, Lafayette by the motorcycle cops. I think this reflects very badly on the city manager, city engineer and traffic commission. They need to redesign the street, not turn Lafayette into a police state. Put a round-about by the school and the new city parking lot, a few more speed limit signs, the signs that clock speed. We spend a fortune on our city administration, surely they can come up with something to slow traffic. Lafayette is always tooting the horn of "semi-rural", semi-rural to me would put a cop on a horse not on a Honda!
lovelafayette August 05, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Just read the Lafayette police blotter in the Sun, numerous serious daytime crimes downtown last week. Wonder how many crimes would have been PREVENTED by a beat cop walking the business district, instead of the motorcycle cops giving out speeding and cell phone tickets. Are there any reported sightings of cops walking in Lafayette, except to get coffee?
Lafayette Curmudgeon August 05, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Also, is there public information on the citations given? A lot could be told about whether this is meant as an effort to extract money from the citizenry or a genuine effort at public safety as to what the tickets are being written for. If they're getting folks for 15 over, great. If they're nicking people for 5, I'd like to know about it.
BV August 05, 2011 at 03:22 PM
I was under the impression that the City keeps telling us we do not have enough police to protect us from crime. The reason appears simple - they are out giving traffic tickets instead. I believe we need to redirect our police force to a task with a little substance.
Peter Armstrong August 05, 2011 at 03:27 PM
@BV, @SS, The two motorcycle police on loan from CHP are to focus on traffic safety so the regular police can focus on crime. Why are you against traffic enforcement? Given the percentage of cars that run the stop signs at Brook/Hough and Oak Hill/Deer Hill, we could use all the traffic enforcement we can get.
Tony Rodriguez August 05, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Keep up the good work, officers.
c5 August 05, 2011 at 03:48 PM
agree. i still think if we really think there is a serious safety issue in town (nobody has shown any stats that lead to think things really are dangerous) there are much better ways to prevent danger than by issuing loads and loads of tickets. i'd also prefer to see more crime prevention unless i see real data on why increased traffic enforcement makes things better in town.
lovelafayette August 05, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Peter. I am not against law enforcement. I want the traffic to slow down in front of Lafayette School. The street needs a redesign. I am against the business district being plagued by car thefts, burgularies, bank robberies. Look at todays SUN, the # of burgularies this week is remarkable when juxtaposed against the # of speeding tickets. What do you mean "on loan"? Are you saying we now have 2 additional police on duty? That is not what was explained at City Council. They ditched the dog to save money, and then bought motorcycles and training, so the net effect was an increase in the$ spent on LPD and no increase in the # of cops on duty.
c5 August 11, 2011 at 02:12 PM
a bit harsh are we? that being said, there is clearly something going on here that does not pertain to safety but does pertain to revenues. i'd be happy to see these resources being directed 100% to real safety enhancements, but some of these activities do nothing to improve safety although they do enrich the coffers of the local govt. there has never been any data that suggests that we actually have a safety problem in town, so this looks to me like a solution looking for a problem...
Carol Ann Long August 11, 2011 at 08:16 PM
You can ticket some offenders forever and not change their bad driving habits. Our neighbor's landscaper says he is pulled over and cited all the time and talks about it like it's a game. His glovebox is full of citations, he doesn't go to court and doesn't appear to worry about having a warrant issued for him. Makes you think.
LovesLafayette August 17, 2011 at 07:28 PM
I continue to be appalled by the egregious number of traffic enforcement officers roaming the streets of Lafayette as if we drive like maniacs (think Rome). It's gotten to the point where I'm afraid to drive from my house to Safeway for fear I may get pulled over for some innocuous infraction cooked up by the Lafayette police to generate revenue. Additionally, I fear for my young 16 year old driver who I know is at great risk for being picked on by our unfriendly, curt traffic patrol officers. What is happening to our city? I've been living here for 9 years and I've yet to witness an overabundance of crazy, out of control drivers that necessitates this type of police coverage in a town of this small size. Do we have drivers that roll stops signs? Of course. Do we have drivers that tailgate? Yes. Do we have drivers that text or talk on cells while driving? Yes. Drive too fast passing school zones? Absolutely (albeit it's summer so no school is in session). What city doesn't? Does it warrant this type of tyranny from the Lafayette police? Absolutely not. In the past month, a day has not passed that I haven't seen three officers hiding on side streets, or waiting to pounce on yet another unsuspecting driver. Enough already! I'm all for traffic and driving safety, but last time I checked we reside in a democratic society, not a police state. How about directing your efforts towards stopping or solving some crimes. Something that truly helps the community.
Brad Katkowsky August 17, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Egregious? Police state? Tyranny? Holy Cow, I'm ready to storm the police station! Seriously, I see them out there to and they seem to be writing folks up (how do we know what for? Is there data on that?) but as for the driving practices of people around here I have to say it may not be Rome but it is perty darn bad. I'd say one in six of the people I pass on the road are jabbering away on a phone AND rolling through stop lights or signs so it would be nice to get some enforcement there. As for younger drivers I have to say the ones I've seen out there lately haven't impressed me even though I know not all are not like the kid who tailgated me from Lafayette to Orinda while looking down at his lap every twenty seconds or so. For now put me down on the side of more enforcement ---- until I get stopped!


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