Reckless driving deterrence campaign approved in West Allis

NOW: Reckless driving deterrence campaign approved in West Allis

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- With the approval of the 2022 budget, West Allis announced a citywide campaign to fight reckless driving.

Mayor Dan Devine, Police Chief Pat Mitchell and City Attorney Kail Decker held a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 17 to discuss the new initiative.

The mayor and city officials approved a reckless driving deterrence campaign as part of the city's 2022 budget. The city will utilize the police department and the City Attorney’s Office to change the approach towards reckless drivers endangering the residents and visitors of West Allis.

Police say they've noticed an uptick in the amount of reckless driving complaints since 2018.

"We would get about 300 reckless driving complaints a year. In 2021 year to date, we already have approximately 650 reckless driving complaints," said to Police Chief Pat Mitchell.

The new campaign against reckless driving hopes to prevent dangerous driving and will allocate funding to do so. This includes having special traffic officers on shifts.

"We now have officers that are out looking for traffic complaints, responding to calls from citizens and issuing citations when appropriate," Mitchell said.

City officials will also now be utilizing significantly higher penalties allowed under Wis. Stat. 941.01 to charge drivers endangering the community with negligent operation of a vehicle instead of the reckless driving traffic citation that is limited to $200.

"The reckless driving ticket is capped at $200, whereas using this new statute could lead to a fine of up to $10,000," said Mayor Devine.

"If you drive recklessly in the city of West Allis, it could be a significant fine you're going to face," said City Attorney Kail Decker.

“The community is tired and weary of the dangerous, and sometimes fatal, consequences our residents face from reckless drivers. We are matching the severity of the crime by raising the fine,” said Devine.

Chief Mitchell said they're also working on a program to install cameras at various busy intersections where a large amount of reckless driving takes place, as well as a program to utilize dashcam video from citizens.

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