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Juneau, AK 99801

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Juneau Police Department

Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"

Q.  Given that EVERYONE in Juneau is world class driver, and most are able to drive backwards while blindfolded... or so they think, When is JPD going to start enforcing the laws on Egan? It is nothing to see a marked unit pulled over in one of several spots (south of the access by mapco, north of the retaining wall, south end of the retaining wall). Nor is it anything new to see people passing marked cars in excess of 60 mph. If JPD is unwilling, Or unable to enforce the laws as charged, how does anyone expect the exceptional drivers in Juneau to bother to slow down when it snows? After all, four-wheel slide is standard now

Dear Juneau Resident,

When you see a marked car pulled over on Egan, the officer is engaged in enforcement. Generally the officer is running radar for speed enforcement because speed is the almost universal common denominator for crashes.

I understand your frustration because something like traffic enforcement looks so easy it seems like everyone should agree on what an officer should do in a given situation. But lets imagine you are suddenly in charge of who gets stopped, where, and for what violations. Now you have a bunch of factors to consider. Egan is the most common place for people to speed. It is also narrow in places and can be a dangerous place to stop people during high traffic times especially when the roads are slippery.

So you, as the officer, now have to decide on the level of risk acceptable in allowing violating driver to continue, putting the violating driver with passengers and yourself on the side of the road with two cars where you create a traffic hazard, and the potential risk to drivers and passengers continuing to use the road during the traffic stop. You need to weigh these factors and to do so quickly and make an enforcement decision. Lets throw into the mix that you are driving to a burglary where the homeowner is pretty sure the burglar is gone but you are concerned about that conclusion and want to search the house yourself.

Everybody's safety is your responsibility from the homeowner with the burglary to drivers that pass any traffic stop you do. There is no cheat sheet for these decisions because no one can predict everything going on a certain time. We expect officers to make reasonable decisions and to be able to explain why they are coming to a certain conclusion.

If you see an officer near someone you think the officer should have stopped call into JPD and ask to speak to a supervisor. The supervisor can find out what issues the officer was considering and answer your questions.


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