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Police in Fairbanks must meet new traffic quota

Alaska Dispatch

Look out, Interior Alaska, last week the Fairbanks Police Department announced it will require all officers to make a minimum of eight traffic stops a week, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Police Chief Laren Zager, who made the announcement through an internal memo, made sure to mention that stops did not need to lead to citations or arrest, but officers are still required to fill the quota.

The idea behind this new number is based on a theory that encounters alone will lead to a decrease in area crime. When police make contact through traffic stops, so the theory goes, it creates the feeling of an increased activity despite the same number of patrols. A community feeling an elevated police presence is less likely to commit petty crimes or engage in rule breaking, according to police.

In his department issued memorandum, Police Chief Zager wrote:

Our profession has only recently come to appreciate the irrefutable correlation between collisions and crime, a relationship that is explained easily: Risk-taking behaviors of any sort — gambling, skydiving, careless driving or committing crimes — needs a place and opportunity to happen. Find the place where both are happening frequently (called ‘hot spots’), focus intensive traffic enforcement there, and both collision rates and crime rates will drop.

On Monday, Zager told the News-Miner that Fairbanks residents should not expect a major change in enforcement because of the policy, but that they should be aware and considerate of regular traffic rules. The policy is currently in effect.

Read more, here.