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NHTSA 14-10
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Contact: Karen Aldana
Tel: 202-366-9550


Innovative Crash and Crime Prevention Resource in Lafourche Parish and Traffic Enforcement Strategies in New Orleans Cited


NEW ORLEANS -- David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), today recognized three Louisiana law enforcement professionals for their work in improving safety for drivers and for their communities.

Strickland presented NHTSA Public Service Awards to Ronal W. Serpas, superintendent of police of the New Orleans Police Department; Craig Webre, sheriff of Lafourche Parish; and Captain Scot Silverii, commander of the Uniform Patrol Division for Lafourche Parish. He recognized Silverii and Webre for developing a new law enforcement tool to help police pinpoint local crash and crime hotspots, while honoring Serpas for innovative service during his long law enforcement career.

"These three officers have helped make residents of Louisiana safer in their cars and in their neighborhoods," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "They richly deserve these awards and our deepest gratitude."

"We stand side-by-side with these officers in their commitment to safety," said Administrator Strickland. "These are individuals who have made a difference, and we honor their service."

Strickland, who was attending a national law enforcement workshop in New Orleans, also joined Webre and Silverii for a demonstration of Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS). DDACTS, which Webre and Silverii helped to develop from a pilot project to a fully operational system for Lafourche Parish, integrates location-based crime and traffic data to more efficiently deploy law enforcement and other resources. Using DDACTS’s data-driven approach, arrests for driving while intoxicated made by the Lafourche Parish sheriff’s office have increased from 150 in 2008 to 297 in 2009 to 430 so far this year. Meanwhile, alcohol-related fatalities have dropped from 18 deaths in 2008 to 11 in 2009 to four so far in 2010.

DDACTS was developed by NHTSA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice. It helps police identify areas in a community that are most at risk for crash and crime incidents so that scarce law enforcement resources can be focused in those areas. The program has shown that criminal activity and vehicle crashes often occur close together. Using a data-driven approach to crime and safety enables law enforcement services to be present at the right place at the right time.

Strickland also recognized Serpas for his leading role in developing innovative traffic enforcement strategies as superintendent of New Orleans’ police that have helped prevent accidents and fatalities.