The sounds of sirens filled the air in Scotts Valley Thursday as police officers from around the county descended on area streets in search of motorists disobeying the law.
“I know I’m going to get some complaints that we should be spending our resources elsewhere,” said Lt. John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department. “But on days like today, we’re able to provide that extra level of focus that we’re not usually able to.”
From 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., about 15 officers in patrol cars and on motorcycles blanketed hot spots for speeders and red light runners. They came from Watsonville, Capitola, Santa Cruz and the California Highway Patrol, as well as Scotts Valley.
The effort was part of BADGES, or Before Aggressive Driving Gets Everyone Stopped.
Hohmann may have expected to hear complaints when he arrived back at the office, but while he was out on the road, he was greeted by waves and smiles from thankful residents as they walked down the street and drove past him in their cars.
While running radar on Bethany Drive, he caught a motorist doing 31 miles per hour. The narrow, winding two lane road is a 25 mile per hour zone with a maximum safe speed of 30.
Upon further investigation, the lieutenant learned the young driver, who said he was running late for class at Bethany University, was driving with a suspended license.
Apparently, he had gotten a ticket a while back for driving in a commuter lane over the hill and never took care of it, the teen told Hohmann. That led the Department of Motor Vehicles to yank his driving privileges.
Hohmann took the young man’s drivers license and told him that he is not allowed to drive until he takes care of his past ticket and gets his license back from the DMV.
About an hour later, Hohmann ticketed another young driver for speeding to class at Scotts Valley High School on Casa Way, a neighborhood street students use as a cut through to school when Glenwood Drive is backed up. Hohmann clocked the teen doing 40 miles per hour in the 25 mile per hour zone.
If the motorist was under 18 years of age, Hohmann would have called his parents on the spot to alert them of the traffic stop and citation, he said.
At the filing of this article, the BADGES effort issued 62 citations Thursday. Multiple other citations were still outstanding at 5 p.m. Based on the manpower, Hohmann estimated the day’s efforts may have surpassed 100. Meanwhile, officers towed three vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers, he said.