D.C. police will increase traffic safety patrols around certain schools in the city, so that they can stop drivers who speed or run red lights or stop signs near school buildings, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced Monday.
Bowser’s latest answer to these demands was to announce that officers in each police district of the city will increase their patrols at schools.
“We focus every day and night and all day in between on making sure D.C. residents are safe,” she said. “Multiple agencies in D.C. government are working around-the-clock to make sure our streets are safer. … These cars are thousands of pounds. When they get moving, they’re deadly weapons. So we have to treat them like that.”
Bowser gave police carte blanche to spend as much money as needed on overtime during a spike in crime several months ago, and Chief Robert J. Contee III said on Monday that he would use that overtime to cover the increased traffic patrols.
Asked about whether drivers should worry about being stopped by police because of these new patrols, Bowser said, “Increased enforcement means more people will get stopped, and the people who will get stopped are the people who aren’t following the rules. … That does mean there will be increased interactions with the police.”
She asked drivers to take responsibility. “Stop speeding on our streets. Stop running red lights on our streets,” she said. “People are very critical of the government, but we also have to look at ourselves who are drivers.”
At some schools, the District will also use electronic signs to tell drivers to slow down. When Bowser made her announcement at Van Ness Elementary in Navy Yard, a board behind her flashed messages like “Children Present” and “School Zone.”
Contee said that the school resource officers already assigned to school buildings will distribute fliers to drivers urging them to drive slowly near schools. He described the strategy as “intermittent enforcement” and said the officers might target different schools over time based on “crash data.”
“The areas today could change next week,” he said.