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Park Rapids PD receives traffic safety enforcement award

In recognition of its successful enforcement record and traffic safety activities, Park Rapids Police Department is recognized as one of eight Minnesota "Outstanding Agencies" by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. This honor includes a piece of law enforcement equipment that was chosen by the agency.

On a quarterly basis, law enforcement liaisons for the Office of Traffic Safety nominate two agencies in their region based on enforcement activity, reporting and community education and outreach efforts.

"We are dedicated to keeping Park Rapids roads safe and working toward fewer traffic-related deaths and injuries," said Chief of Police Terry Eilers. "It’s an honor to be recognized for our successful enforcement efforts and traffic safety partnership programs."

Park Rapids officers worked a total of 150 extra patrol hours during the 4th quarter of 2015, driving 2,148 miles and making 321 total stops. During those stops seven people were taken into custody with seven vehicles being towed; 32 seatbelt, 21 speeding, six DUIs, and DARs were issued. Also, 176 miscellaneous contacts were made by officers.

With the award, the Park Rapids PD received a new car-mounted radar system valued at $3,000. Eilers told the council each car in the department will now have the same car-mounted radar.

Frank Scherf from the Office of Traffic Safety, which provides funding for extra enforcement, presented the award to Eilers at Tuesday’s council meeting.

In 2003 there were 655 traffic deaths. Program directors set goals to reduce that number and it dropped to 361 the end of 2014. The new goal for 2020 is 320. Last year there were 412 fatalities. In 2011 there were 368 and 395 in 2012. These totals were the first since 1944 under 400.

The philosophy of program is to change driving behavior. Scherf said this is something the Park Rapids PD earned. There are 32 awards given out in Minnesota per year.

"It says a lot about the work your police department is doing here," Scherf said. "It’s saving lives and that’s really what law enforcement is all about."

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