Police Patrol Continues

Jessica Coleman

The constant presence of the police on the main roads of Orinda has led students to speculate a change in police policy. However, no policies have recently been altered. The roads are watched as carefully as they have been for years.

“Our policy is the same,” said Officer Kevin Mooney. “There is the same number of police officers in the department that there has been in past years.”

Fourteen police officers patrol traffic on a rotation, which makes it seem like they are always present. In the morning, students have observed other teenagers pulled over on the way to school.

There are about 350 citations a month in Orinda, and less than two percent are issued to juveniles. It is common for students to notice when their classmates are pulled over, making them believe that they are the only people receiving citations. But they often overlook the police handing citations out to parents, construction workers, and visitors.

Mooney said that under some circumstances, a warning is sufficient rather than giving a citation.
“If a driver gives the impression that they don’t understand what they did wrong, I am more likely to give them a citation,” said Mooney. “But it depends on the violation.”

Mooney stressed the term “behavior moderation,” in regards to driving. Strict traffic enforcement will lower the amount of violations. Therefore, less accidents will occur and the roads of Orinda will be safer.

“Speeding or running a stop sign can make you get where you’re going a few seconds early, but it’s dangerous,” said Mooney.

The Orinda Police concentrate in the Orinda Intermediate School and Miramonte High School area due to the volume of traffic and history of violations. Mooney reports about two citations a day on Ivy Drive between 7 and 8 a.m.

Another target area is Camino Pablo, between Bear Creek and Miner Road because of a major speeding problem. It’s a  walking path, and school and sports field are located in the area, so the police watch to make sure that the safety standards are met.

Even though the speed limit of main roads was raised from 25 to 35 miles per hour, Orinda drivers continue to drive recklessly.

According to Mooney, drivers are usually safe to drive two or three miles per hour over the speed limit, depending on the roadway. Anything beyond that risks a citation for speeding, and exhibits dangerous behaviors that endanger pedestrians and other drivers.

While teenagers do not contribute a majority of the traffic citations, they are guilty of major violations. Speeding, talking on cell phones, not signaling and running stop signs are the most common offenses.

“Teenagers are responsible, but easily distracted,” said Mooney.

The police have noticed texting as a substitute for talking on the phone. It is harder for them to cite people who are texting because they hold the phone out of view.

While drivers text they stare at their phone, making them blind to the road. This is even more dangerous than talking on the phone and increases the probability of causing an accident.