Amelia council members approve STEP program

By Kristin Bednarski
Sun staff

Amelia Police Chief David Friend recommended council members give the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program a try in the village during the April 23 council meeting.

Friend said the program allows existing officers to be dedicated to only traffic violations in the village.

“I truly believe in this program,” Friend said.

Friend said with the program, officers will select time slots throughout the week in addition to their scheduled duty where they will work as the STEP officer.

Friend said the STEP officers will be required to write one ticket or two warnings an hour.

He said council members must set aside a certain amount of money to pay those officers, but some money will also be made from traffic tickets.

“I’d like to recommend that program, our own program, be installed here,” Friend said.

Amelia Mayor Todd Hart told council members that they would have to use money out of the general fund to pay for the program, and could decide what amount would be best to start.

“I think it is a win-win program,” Hart said. “This person would be dedicated strictly to traffic.”

Hart said they have been getting complaints about people speeding in the village, and it is becoming a safety concern.

“It is not a program to pick on people,” Hart said. “It is to slow these people that come through the village.”

Hart said increasing traffic enforcement in the village could also help with other problems, including drug and alcohol violations.

Councilman Chuck Thacker said he was unsure about requiring officers to write tickets.

“I don’t like the idea of one ticket per hour,” Thacker said.

Council members Renee Gerber and Chris Dickerson said they agree with the program and think it would be helpful in the village.

“I say we make a motion,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson suggested they start with $3,000 to pay officers participating in the program.

Council members voted and approved the program, with five council members in favor and one opposed.

Friend said they can evaluate how the program is working and decide whether or not to continue the program after that money has been used.