In 2019, Sarpy County experienced a total of 2,514 crashes with 22 fatalities and 1,235 injured persons. The number of fatalities in Sarpy County increased 50% from 2018 to 2019, prompting law enforcement in Sarpy County to take a look at ways to reduce these numbers. Sarpy County Sheriff Jeff Davis and Chief Deputy Greg London worked with leaders from other law enforcement agencies in Sarpy County and received immediate offers to work together to help reduce the number of crashes and, ultimately, the number of tragic, fatal crashes that can devastate families and communities. The Nebraska Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Office agreed to partner with Sarpy County law enforcement agencies and provided a $40,000 grant toward personnel costs in these enforcement efforts from February to August 2020.
The Sarpy County Traffic Task Force, formed in late 2019, became a collaborative effort of the law enforcement agencies in Sarpy County – The Sarpy County Sheriff's Office, Bellevue Police Department, La Vista Police Department and Papillion Police Department, as well as the Nebraska State Patrol. The task force's goal is to reduce the number of crashes in Sarpy County through enhanced traffic law enforcement. The agencies have utilized hot-spot targetting, saturation patrols and other unique techniques to enforce traffic laws.
Since the Sarpy County Traffic Task Force formed, officers have made 1,327 traffic stops. Violations included speeding, traffic signal violations, crosswalk violations, improper passing, careless driving and more. During these traffic stops, officers have made dozens of arrests for driving under suspension, driving under the influence of alcohol, felony arrest warrants and drug violations. More importantly, as of Aug.30, 2020, the number of crashes in Sarpy County is at only 42% of the total number in 2019, and fatalities are at only 31% of the total in 2019.
Due to the Sarpy County Traffic Task Force's success, the law enforcement agencies in Sarpy County will continue the efforts to make Sarpy County roadways safer with a $100,000 grant from the NDOT's Highway Safety Office for further enforcement initiatives and public education efforts from October 2020 to September 2021. The Task Force officers's goal will continue to be the education of Sarpy County motorists in traffic safety and the enforcement of traffic laws. The ultimate goal is to keep the citizens and guests of Sarpy County safe while on our roadways.
You can follow the efforts of the Sarpy County Traffic Task Force by following them on Twitter at @SarpyTraffic and by using the hashtag #DriveSafeSarpy.