Click it or Ticket campaign nears

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

More law enforcement officials are expected to be at various checkpoints for the upcoming holiday season, thanks in part to funds from the National Traffic Highway Safety Program to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for the upcoming Thanksgiving Click-It Or Ticket campaign.

Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams hosted a news conference Wednesday in the municipal court room for the campaign, featuring Jack Chancey, representative of South East Alabama Medical Center in Dothan and ADECA manager of the grant for the southeast region, including Covington County.

"Click-it Or Ticket is credited to saving possibly 21 lives in the southeast region of Alabama, which encompasses 12 counties from Escambia all the way up to Russell County," Chancey said.

Representatives from Escambia County Sheriff's Department, River Falls Police Department, Red Level Police Department, Atmore Police Department, and Gantt Police Department were also present at the meeting.

One of the purposes of the meeting was also to recognize the money used to pay officers overtime so the campaign can be more strictly enforced, said Chancey.

"This is the fourth year we've received funding for overtime pay for the campaign," he said.

The funds for sector four of the southeast area, including Escambia, Crenshaw, and Covington counties, total about $10,000, said Chancey. The money will be divided among the three counties based on the need.

"We disperse between $40,000 to $45,000 during a mobilization enforcement campaign, such as Click-it Or Ticket within our 12-county region that include sheriff's departments and local police departments. There are 71 agencies within our 12 counties, and we have approximately 54 (departments) that participate on a regular basis in our mobilization programs."

The campaign for the Thanksgiving holidays will last approximately a week, added Chancey.

"It is kicking off on November 23 and will last until December 1," he said.

The campaign will include several enforcement aspects, according to Chancey.

"We'll be looking at checkpoints, we'll be looking at seat belt usage, insurance verification, licensee verification, and child occupancy," he said. "We'll also be having some looks at strategic areas within the counties where fatalities occur, and we'll be focusing on those so everybody will have a happy Thanksgiving."

According to Chancey, the importance of buckling-up can never be stressed enough.

"Buckle-up - it saves lives," he said. "Slow down, and drive defensively. You've got to watch the other guy as well as yourself."

A primary concern of the campaign will be the child occupancy enforcement, said Chancey.

"We're beefing up the child occupancy," he said. "We're concentrating on child seats not being installed correctly or not being used at all."

The campaign has high hopes for saving lives.

"Our goal is to save about one in four lives," he said.

State troopers in Alabama, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina will also be involved with the campaign, he said.

"We may have more checkpoints during the holidays as a result to the campaign," Williams said.