Wednesday was a bad day to choose to break traffic laws in Manteca.
As part of the countywide Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, motorcycle officers from throughout San Joaquin County descended on Manteca to provide saturation patrols as part of an effort to educate the public on safe driving practices.
Officers from Manteca, Tracy, Lodi, Ripon, Lathrop, and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office made 317 traffic stops during the one-day operation and issued 287 citations for infractions and moving violations that were observed during the patrol.
Four people that were driving with a suspended license were contacted. Two unlicensed drivers were also encountered during the active enforcement time frame.
While it’s unlikely that Manteca will have the same amount of traffic officers that were patrolling the streets on Wednesday on the city payroll anytime soon, the number of active motorcycle officers is expected to increase in the coming months.
The Manteca Police Department brought one additional motorcycle officer on board July 1 and has plans to add another in January. That brings the total of dedicated traffic officers to five, the same level that the city had back in 2008 before the housing market collapse prompted extensive public safety cutbacks throughout the region.
Even with the new hires, there are more than 15,000 additional residents in Manteca than there were in 2008 with thousands more expected to move in over the course of the next several years as long-planned housing tracts come online and development that stalled during the downturn begins to rebound.
The STEP program, which allows cities that don’t have the resources to tackle traffic issues that may be mounting in a given community, has allowed cities like Manteca and Lathrop to address common resident complaints of everything from stop sign running and speeding to texting while driving.
It has also allowed police to promote the safety the general motoring public while sending a message that unsafe driving will not be tolerated.
“The goal of today’s S.T.E.P operation was to identify unsafe driving that often leads to collisions involving injury or death and enforce those violations through ticketing and education,” a statement announcing the success of the operation read. “A reduction in collisions saves lives and prevents injuries.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.