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Cornelius News

New unmarked cars part of enhanced patrols in Cornelius


June 14. By Dave Vieser. Watch your speed and buckle those seat belts. That’s the advice of law enforcement officials who unveiled a new five-member traffic enforcement team on Monday. The program is made possible by a $210,000 federal grant, matched by $37,000 in local funds.

The grant will cover the cost of two new officers to be supplemented by three current officers.

“Our primary goals will be lowering the number of motor vehicle crashes, increasing DWI awareness and enforcement, and promoting and enforcing seat belt use in Cornelius,” said Police Chief Bence Hoyle. The enforcement team will also concentrate on high-crash locations, and participate in frequent DWI checkpoints.

Police will deploy two unmarked Fords, one blue, one gray, both with peppy EcoBoost engines. Back in 2011, when the town launched a similar five-officer team, Hoyle said they opted to use just marked cars. “We were introducing the black and white color scheme at that time, and we thought it would be more important to have our patrols be highly visible, which in itself has a deterrent effect. Now that the black and whites have become quite familiar, we’re ready to implement unmarked units as well.”

Hoyle said the department would also be looking into adding motorcycles in the near future “as resources permit.”

The enforcement cars are fully equipped with radar and state-of-the-art equipment. Having the additional cars and officers will also enable the town police to intensify their focus on specific neighborhood problems, such as areas where motorists are going through stop signs.

Cornelius was chosen for the grant, according to Don Nail from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, due in part to its location within Mecklenburg County where “crash-related injuries and fatalities run high, along with unbelted fatalities.” The 2016 grant runs through June 2017, and is traditionally renewed for two additional years but with a decrease in the federally funded portion.