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Traffic enforcement blitz in Lathrop sees 160 citations issued

Traffic enforcement is the No. 1 request made to Lathrop Police Services by residents that are concerned about excessive speed and unsafe and distracted drivers.

And on Wednesday, those residents got exactly what they wanted when 16 traffic officers descended upon Lathrop as part of a county-wide enforcement program funded through a grant from California Office of Traffic Safety.

By the end of the day, the team of motorcycle officers that represent every agency in San Joaquin County had issued 160 citations ranging from speeding and seat belt violations to distracted driving.

“It was a great chance to do maximum enforcement – these officers covered the whole gamut of the vehicle code and this was a chance to educate the public and prevent accidents,” Acting Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann said. “The number one complaint in Lathrop is and always has been traffic – whether that’s speeding or exhibition of speed or racing – it’s something that people are concerned about and this definitely addresses those concerns.”

While the agencies don’t notify the public when the multijurisdictional efforts are taking place, social media was abuzz on Wednesday when began to recognize a sharp increase in the number of motorcycle officers on the streets of Lathrop. The department even got a number of phone calls from people wanting to know when Lathrop Police Services added so many officers to their ranks.

While the grant has been in place for several years and this isn’t the first time that Lathrop has benefitted from the joint effort, the amount of funding that is available every year dictates the number are officers that are able to blanket a community – taking place in Lodi and Manteca previously during this round of funding.

Biedermann said that he hopes the funding will remain so that the department can continue to see the benefit of saturation efforts like these.

“This is a very effective tool and it’s not stat-driven or revenue-driven but about sending a message that we’re trying to curb the traffic problems when they come up,” BIedermann said. “It’s a very effective tool that we plan on using again.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.