Braddock District Supervisor John Cook joined “McGruff” the Crime Dog and Officer J. T. Frey of the Fairfax County Police Department greeting Laurel Ridge Elementary students and parents Monday.
The outreach initiated the Police Department’s Operation Blue Guardian, part of Supervisor Cook’s ongoing campaign to combat speeding and unsafe driving in our communities.
“I have heard a high level of concern and anxiety from residents regarding unsafe driving through their neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Cook. “It is clearly an issue that deserves our full attention and requires especially heightened awareness now that our kids are back out walking to school.”
Operation Blue Guardian focuses on enforcing the speed limits in school zones and shadowing buses as they travel throughout the county. "Police are reminding drivers that when bus lights and stop signs are activated, vehicles must stop in both directions, unless they are separated from the bus by a median," said Officer Frey of the .
Over the summer, Fairfax County Police also launched HEAT (Help Eliminate Aggressive Traffic), which targets unsafe and aggressive driving behaviors.
“When our streets become raceways, people become hesitant to walk down the sidewalk, ride their bikes, or let their children play in the front yard, and that’s just unacceptable,” said Supervisor Cook.
According to Supervisor Cook, officers issued in 2011:
- 1,364 citations for speeding in school zones;
- 364 citations for improperly passing school buses and not stopping for a school bus with flashing lights.
Aggressive drivers face fines up to $2,500, six months suspended license and a year in jail. Fairfax County Police encourage motorists to slow down in school zones, stay alert around bus stops and drive safely through school crossings.
Supervisor Cook's ongoing campaign for safe driving in neighborhoods received added support from the entire Board of Supervisors. At it’s June 19 meeting, the Board unanimously approved Supervisor Cook’s board matter directing county staff to develop a campaign focused on addressing traffic concerns and safety issues, particularly speeding through neighborhoods. Additional elements of the campaign include:
- Increased coordination between the Police Department and Office of Public Affairs for a publicity campaign to increase public consciousness about unsafe driving;
- Working with community groups on driving safety initiatives in neighborhoods;
- An increased focus on highly visible speed check points.
The Board’s “carry over” package this month is expected to contain $200,000 for traffic calming measures, according to Supervisor Cook. It also will direct staff to prepare a briefing for the Board later this fall on implementing additional traffic safety measures contained in Supervisor Cook’s proposal.
View more photos of McGruff's visit in the photo gallery.