December 22, 2014

Elyria
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AAA honors Elyria police for traffic safety

ELYRIA — Elyria police were honored Wednesday for efforts taken to reduce the number of traffic accidents in the city.

The department was among nine police and other law enforcement agencies across Northeast Ohio given gold awards during the annual Community Traffic Safety Program presentation by area offices of American Automobile Association East Central.

Elyria Police Chief Duane Whitely and Capt. Phil Hammond, who heads the department’s Services Division, accepted the award.

“He’s the lead traffic investigator, so naturally this area falls to him,” Whitely said, referencing Hammond and the work of many others including patrol officers, and the city’s Engineering Department, which developed a means of helping to reduce accidents at some of the city’s most-traveled intersections.

“We did a multitude of things in the way of improvements to safety in the city,” Whitely said.

A prime example was developed by city engineers after patrol officers identified the intersections of Cleveland, Taylor and East Broad streets with state Route 57 as high-crash areas.

“Officers said they noticed that when the pavement was wet, vehicles can’t stop (as well as during periods of dry pavement), especially after they re-did 57,” Whitely said.

Discussions with the Engineering Department led to “diamond cutting” being done at the intersections.

“That’s a process that roughs up the pavement so it’s not so slick,” Whitely said.

The process worked to reduce accidents at the three spots, Whitely said. Figures on how much the numbers dropped weren’t available.

“This was an outstanding example of the police and other agencies in the city working together to lower the number of accidents,” Whitely said.

This marked the first time Elyria has received a gold award from the program, although it did get a bronze award previously, Whitely said.

The North Ridgeville Police Department was the only other Lorain County department to be recognized, receiving a bronze award.

To be eligible, communities must conduct traffic safety promotions that educate the public on safety topics.

American Automobile Association East Central is a nonprofit organization with 82 offices in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York and Kentucky.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.