Police chief questions state sponsored training for semi traffic - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Police chief questions state sponsored training for semi traffic enforcement

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Next week, police will begin new training aimed at keeping you and that semi next to you a safe distance apart.

This state sponsored program is expected to give officers the confidence they may have lost to make these stops.

The director of the Governor's Office for Highway Safety said for whatever reason, local police officers have been reluctant to pull over tractor trailers, hence this new training.

But the Garden City Police Chief doesn't buy it.

"I mean, I don't know where he's looking. Maybe it's that way in another municipality, but it's certainly not that way here. We don't instill that type of culture,” said David Lyons, Garden City Police Chief.

Chief Lyons said his officers don't need training on how to make a traffic stop.
In fact, Garden City used to have a commercial vehicle unit comprised of two officers who focused on unsafe semis.

Pooler, Port Wentworth, and Metro Police all had units, too. Four years ago, the state gave that responsibility to Georgia State Patrol.

"I don't know how the state can take the position that they're taking when the state had a program that was working,” said Chief Lyons.

In 2007, there were 282 commercial vehicle accidents in Garden City. Within three years of the department starting its commercial vehicle unit, the number of accidents fell to 44.

The next year the state took over.

"It was without any warning, no meeting, no let's get together and talk about it. We just got a letter in the mail and said, 30th of September, your commercial vehicle authority is withdrawn,’ said Chief Lyons.

But according to one truck driver, that was a good change because local police were stopping too many drivers.

"There was more truck drivers in courtrooms than there were in the port. It was just that bad. They would pull you over just because,” said Carol Cauley, truck driver.

And though the local trucker's union doesn't think going back to more traffic stops is going to make you safer on the roads. They just want fair treatment, regardless of what agency pulls them over.

"I'm not saying all truck drivers maintain their trucks, but the majority of them do. But you punish all of us when you have bad cops just pulling us over for no reason,” said Cauley.

WTOC reached out to the Department of Public Safety as to why they took away the responsibility of commercial inspections from local police departments. We are yet to hear back. 

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