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|OKLAHOMA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
In October of 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Oklahoma City a Local Law Enforcement Block Grant to start an aggressive driving program. R.A.A.I.D. (Reduction of Accidents and Aggressive and Inconsiderate Drivers) became operational in September 1998. The goal of R.A.A.I.D. is to reduce crashes, particularly fatal crashes.
The grant was used to purchase automobiles, radar units, speed surveys, computer tracking of activities, and training of officers to use equipment and overtime funds for personnel. They require all law enforcement officers that work the overtime R.A.A.I.D. shifts to attend an eight-hour training session. These sessions train the officers in the background and history of the R.A.A.I.D. program, about the aggressive driving issues, radar operation training, identification of problem traffic areas and what is expected of the officer working the R.A.A.I.D. program.
There is extensive media coverage on the aggressive driving program. There are live broadcasts during enforcement efforts, guest appearances by public information and education officers and R.A.A.I.D. trained officers. The Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) also officers ride-alongs for the media.
OCPD continually monitors crash data and identifies ten high-crash areas. They assign the R.A.A.I.D. officers to those high crash areas. If a new high-crash area surfaces, they adjust the teams work locations. The program uses unmarked patrol vehicles.
Statistics compared with the same time last year, before the R.A.A.I.D. program began, shows a decrease in the following categories.
The Municipal Courts have set up special R.A.A.I.D. codes, which will help in tracking most of the citations issued during the R.A.A.I.D. enforcement efforts. Other things they will track are: total number of citations for a specific offense, final dispositions, conviction rates, and revenue generated because of the R.A.A.I.D. enforcement program.
During the February 1999 legislature, a bill was filed that would make it illegal for law enforcement officers in Oklahoma to use unmarked patrol vehicles. This bill would have greatly affected the R.A.A.I.D. law enforcement strategy. During the legislative session, many press conferences, radio interviews and newspaper stories were done, explaining the use of unmarked patrol vehicles and their value. Through the legislative process, standards were set on when and how they could deploy unmarked patrol vehicles.
A major issue in Oklahoma with unmarked patrol vehicles, is persons imitating law enforcement officers. The Oklahoma legislature addressed that issue by increasing the penalty for persons impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Captain John Gonshor