COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department will be especially attentive to traffic violators Thursday.
Public Information Officer Jessie Haden said Wednesday that four officers will be dedicated to looking for people speeding, driving without a seat belt, running red lights or committing other traffic violations. Those four officers will not be responding to other calls and will focus solely on these violations, Haden said.
The special traffic detail is designed to coincide with the state’s Occupant Protection Enforcement Day, Haden said. The day is part of a state program to encourage safer driving, and any extra cost the department incurs from the patrols will be paid for by a state grant.
“It’s not a law; it’s not an ordinance,” Haden said. “It’s not something that we have to do. We apply for the grant money for that because we want to participate.”
Haden said that even though the officers participating in the program will use their own discretion in whether to offer tickets or warnings, the point of the event is to encourage people to be safe while driving.
“If we have four traffic officers driving around all day tomorrow looking for drivers committing traffic violations, and they can’t find anyone because they’ve heard the word and they’re all driving legally and carefully," she said. "That will be a perfect day for us.”