Waco PD Wants Your Help Finding Traffic Problem Areas - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Waco PD Wants Your Help Finding Traffic Problem Areas

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They protect and serve us, but now they need our help. Waco Police are looking for problem traffic areas.

They're beefing up patrols, and now their online presence. The idea is to get help from the public.

One-hundred-fourteen -- that's how many people have died on Waco roads since 2008. Now the Waco PD is pushing hard to keep it from happening in places like the school crossing Cynthia Gonzalez uses every day with her 7-year-old son, Michael.

"I have called the police several times about the traffic problems," she said.

That's exactly what the cops want from people like Gonzalez.

"As soon as I get home I call them and let them know, 'Hey, there's cars that are running the light,' you know, and my concern is the kids."

The police are doing what they can: They added two more traffic cops at the beginning of the year.

And now they're asking you for help. They want to know where the problems are.

"They're the ones out here driving around," said Michael Bucher, an officer with the city's traffic unit. "They're the ones that see it. It's easier to see it in their cars than these big white police cars."

Wayne Mclean, a crossing guard at Crestview Elementary, sees "people running red lights and they go a little fast, too fast."

If you want to report a problem area, you can call the department at 254-750-7500, or actually type up an email directly to the traffic unit supervisor, Sgt. Scott Holt, at ScottH@ci.waco.tx.us

And it's working.

"We've been getting hundreds of those telling us please come to our area, sit in our school zone, watch this red light, watch that stop sign," said Sgt. Patrick Swanton with the Waco PD.

Some don't think the department's motives are exactly pure: KCEN viewer Lukas writes on our Facebook page it's "revenue generating at its best."

The police say it's not about making money or even writing a bunch of tickets, even though they are doing plenty of that. It's about trying to get the public involved with keeping the city safe, and making parents like Gonzalez feel safer taking their kids to school.

"I wish they were out here a lot more," she said.

If everything goes according to plan, they will be. Another part of that plan: social media.

Everyone's on Facebook and Twitter, even the cops.

Cynthia Cox, a mother taking her two kids to school at Crestview, sees it all the time walking her kids to school. Drivers blowing through the intersection, running the light.

"They don't slow down, no school district, I mean, there's been a lot of times kids have almost gotten hit," Cox said.

Along with asking for the emails, WPD is putting out a lot of info on social media.

"We don't want it to be a surprise to them," Swanton said. He's the man behind the PD's pages.

He posts pictures of traffic stops on their Facebook page and on Twitter, and provides warnings to drivers. One from Monday said they'll be watching school zones closely. 

School crossings are a big focus of the new push. Crossing guards help, but police are hoping that a bigger presence by them is going to help even more, And so are parents.

"Sometimes, you know, cars just don't pay attention," Gonzalez said.

In less than two hours Thursday, one traffic cop we talked to stopped seven drivers for speeding in a school zone. Another stopped four in a hour.

"I think it might save a lot of those children's, you know, close calls," added Cox. "You know, I don't want to see my kids get hit or anything like that."

More cops writing more tickets, with a little help from the public, just might do the trick. 

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