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Charlotte County Sheriff's Office looking to beef up traffic unit

Posted at 8:59 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 22:40:01-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla — The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office is looking to beef up its traffic unit to help keep up with the number of crashes they are seeing.

They say the intersection of Kings Highway and Veterans Boulevard along with US 41 and Cochran, and US 41 and Midway contribute to the high number of crashes seen.

The county saw more than 8,000 crashes between January 2018 and December 2019.

"Could be lineage, it could be signage, could distracted driving, which is one of our primary contributing factors when it comes to crashes," Lt. Christopher Williams with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

"It could that it's a poorly designed roadway."

This year the Sheriff's Office says they've only seen about 2,000 crashes because of COVID-19.

"No doubt the pandemic has had an impact on the number of crashes," Lt. Williams said.

"But what we're seeing is recently is that traffic and the motoring public, more people on the roadways and the large decreased that we had in crashes, that's starting to diminish and our crashes, they're starting to increase."

To help cut down on the danger and keep up with the demand, the Sheriff's Office is looking to beef up its traffic unit by doubling the staff from 6 to 12.

"In doing that, it allows us seven-day coverage," Lt. Williams said.

"Because it's hard to cover everything even though we work closely with our patrol units and other ancillary units throughout the county."

But change comes with a cost, and in this case, the price is about $800,000. And they say the result is priceless when considering the outcome it would provide.

"Reduce the complaints, reduce the crashes, increase the quality of life for our citizens," Lt. Williams said.

"Because nobody wants to sit at home and potentially hear vehicles speeding by, hear it through their windows, go out walk their pets, go out and exercise, ride their bikes and be concerned that they can't do it safely."

The county still has some time to make up its mind. It will hold its final budget hearing on September 22nd.