CUYAHOGA FALLS: Police Chief Tom Pozza has no problem admitting that traffic enforcement officers must meet ticket quotas.
Pozza recalls when the Falls was nicknamed “Ticket City.”
He wants to re-establish that reputation.
“I want people who come to this city to see the police being active,” Pozza said Tuesday. “People who live here want to see the police active.”
The city’s reputation makes drivers slow down at the city line, resulting in fewer accidents and lower insurance rates for residents, he said.
Seeing cruisers on every major road also stops criminal activity, Pozza said.
A week ago, Pozza rolled out a program he calls STOP — Special Traffic Operation Program.
Pozza fashioned it after a similar program in Rocky River.
He offers overtime to officers who will work traffic enforcement, writing at least three tickets an hour.
Fines from the tickets pay for the officers’ overtime.
“I don’t want it to cost the city anything,” Pozza said.
As of Tuesday, officers had written 144 citations.
None of them is for the most minor infractions, like broken taillights or a loud muffler. The speeding violations are at least 15 miles over the limit, Pozza said. People are being cited for running stop signs and red lights — actions that can cause accidents.
Pozza acknowledges the tickets create revenue for the city, but that’s not why he’s doing it. He believes in an aggressive, proactive police force.
Higher department morale, he said, tells him his officers like it, too.
Mayor Don Robart is supportive of the STOP program.
“It’s safety first, revenue second,” Robart said. “Increased traffic enforcement does have an effect on crime. This is good for the city.”
Pozza said he wants “to get back to good old-fashioned police work, with cops visible. We want to let the criminal element know we’re out there.”
Gina Mace can be reached at email@example.com.