Chief of Police Chris Thorsen was recently a Guest columnist for the Contra Costa Times. If you missed his column here it is:
THE CITY OF OAKLEY continues to evolve. From the time I began my law enforcement career 22 years ago to today, things have changed drastically.
Some would argue things were better “back in the good old days” when our streets carried more farm equipment than passenger cars. Instead of homes and businesses, the roads were lined with orchards and crops.
With the growth, our roads have been improved to carry the additional traffic volume. The police department has grown to keep pace with the increase in population. Part of that growth has been the addition of a traffic safety unit. You will recognize this as the traffic enforcement motorcycles riding about town and making enforcement stops. Coupled with these motor officers, members of the Oakley Police Department have increased their efforts in the area of intoxicated driving enforcement. These two efforts combined have resulted in tangible results. Traffic accidents are declining; more importantly, injuries resulting from those accidents are declining as well. In a year-to-year comparison, collisions have declined approximately 25 percent. Injuries in those collisions have declined approximately 30 percent. Due to the increased enforcement efforts, overall speed is decreasing in many areas of town.
I often hear the comment “why aren’t you out arresting real criminals,” or “don’t you have anything better to do” when it comes to our efforts in traffic safety.
These folks will never understand the experience of removing a young person’s mangled body from a car, needlessly killed in a traffic accident. They will never deliver the horrible news to a parent letting him know his son or daughter will not be coming home.
Simply put, if our enforcement efforts eliminate these experiences, then my answer is “no, we have nothing better to do!”
When I see a group of 40 or 50 Oakley residents, I fully believe at least one of them is alive and well due to the efforts of your police department. There is no good day to get a ticket or arrested for DUI.
Those enforcement measures are performed in an effort to save lives and limit injuries.
As the years go on, we will continue to work with the community to reduce the incidents of injuries and fatalities on our roadways.
Please join us in these efforts, don’t drink and drive, slow down and drive safely.