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Selective Enforcement Unit honors street officers

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Brown also received an achievement award along with Officer Kyle York and Sgt. Steve Smith, all of whom work with the Selective Enforcement Unit.

The Department also honored downtown Rome resident Phil Jones with a Buckle Up Rome award for being properly restrained during a very bad wreck.

“If he wasn’t wearing his seat belt he probably wouldn’t be here with us today,” Sgt. Smith said.

Jones was in a wreck off Shorter Avenue that resulted in his vehicle going airborne, hitting two concrete poles and crossing all five lanes of Shorter Avenue around 4 p.m., a busy time of the day.

“This collision shows us that proper use of seats belts in conjunction with the vehicles equipped with airbags saves lives,” Smith said.

Rome Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney started the program to highlight the unit by telling city leaders the goal is not to write citations but to curb behavior.

Unit supervisor Capt. Chris DeHart explained the specific focus of the SEU is to focus on enforcement of DUI laws, occupant protection, speeding and accident causing violations.

“The stricter we implement the traffic laws, the safer we will make the roadways by targeting our high crash locations,” DeHart said.

Major Rodney Bailey, head of the field operations division of the Rome Police, said the department investigated 2,500 wrecks in 2017 — 872 involved injuries. Bailey said 56 wrecks involved impaired drivers and 60 percent of those wrecks resulted in physical injuries.

Police made 309 DUI arrests last year, 20 of those involving motorist who were 21 years of age or under.

Bailey said the number one cause of wrecks in Rome has consistently been following too closely, followed by failure to yield and improper lane changes.