“I know people say all we want to do is write tickets and create revenue for the city,” Rome Chief of Police Denise Downer-McKinney said at a Thursday night press conference. “But that is not our mission. Our mission is for the safety and well being of our citizens.”
Downer-McKinney was speaking about the department as a whole, but also of the 12 officers of the Selective Enforcement Unit who were being recognized in the Rome City Municipal Court Room.
Pfc. David McGuire was awarded Traffic Officer of the Year in the Selective Enforcement Unit for his dedication in making sure the Safe Seat Initiative stayed relevant to the department, DeHart said. The initiative focused on educating community members about car seat safety, and McGuire would go so far as install car seats himself for community members after he cited them for a seat belt violation. By himself, McGuire was involved in 153 enforcement actions during 2018, not counting the times he assisted other officers in the field.
“If you just only knew how important what he did is to this department,” DeHart said. “One person shouldering the load is quite commendable.”
McGuire was one of seven other officers who were recognized in the Selective Enforcement Unit for outstanding work in keeping drivers in Rome safe.
Maj. Rodney Bailey gave an overview of the unit’s duties which include reducing the incidents of drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts, the number of drivers driving under the influence as well as speed-related crashes.
The unit works with the police department’s record division to get statistics which help officers know where to patrol, he said. The unit also meets with the Rome Traffic Committee to discuss traffic safety.
Bailey shared crash statistics from 2017 to 2018 where the department saw an overall decrease in crashes by 108 in a year.
“It’s all because of these guys,” he said gesturing towards the officers.
From 2017 to 2018 there were 33 fewer accidents resulting in injuries with one additional fatality. There were 5 less recorded DUI violations in 2018 with 13 reported injuries and one fatality.
Reducing theses numbers is a constant goal of the unit, he said. To do this the Selective Enforcement Unit uses public awareness, education, outreach and enforcement of traffic laws to increase traffic safety.