Traffic Investigation: So Much More Than Patrol
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) – Officials say car accidents are on the rise, and many of them with devastating results.
A summer full of tragedy on our roadways and law enforcement is desperate for answers to lower these numbers.
Enter the Traffic Investigator.
This unique deputy is highly trained in analyzing crashes by deconstructing accidents and studying statistics.
"Alot of what they do is behind the scenes," said Chief Deputy Allen Branum with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. "They work a lot of fatalities, serious crashes, very time consuming."
Car accidents can take weeks of investigating but when these deputies aren’t recreating crash scenes, they are patrolling miles of roads, looking for opportunities to educate drivers.
Contrary to popular belief, these patrol deputies aren’t looking to line the pockets of the sheriff’s department.
"Our primary goal is not to write citations but to be visible, to stop the crashes," said Branum.
"Money has nothing to do with it," said Captain Charles Lowery, Jr. "So there are no quotas and at the end of the month we don’t have to write X number of tickets or anything of that sort. We write tickets in order to get that person to conform to the law."
Their unique perspective of the horrible aftermath of fatal crashes gives them a sincere desire to make the roadways safer.
Statistics show certain factors play a significant role in the risk of accidents.
"speed," said Lowery. "Definitely number one. Number two. Texting has moved up the ladder because I guess you could actually say distracted driving."
These officers, many with families waiting at home, put their lives on the line every day and witness nightmarish scenes that serve a dire warning to follow the laws of the road.
Yet their advice to the public remains simple.
"Biggest thing is if you’re trying to get to somebody who’s in need, there’s other avenues than speeding and putting everybody else’s lives at risk just because you’re trying to get somewhere," said traffic investigator Deputy Jeff Gadd.
"Pay attention to your speed, slow down, and be safe," said Lowery.