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The Evanston Police Department’s Traffic Management Bureau received recognition Wednesday for their first place finish in the traffic safety challenge by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

The competition encourages police departments to undertake a comprehensive review of traffic enforcement initiatives to increase traffic safety in their respective communities.

This award is also sponsored by the state transportation department and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.

Evanston’s traffic bureau has a long history. It was first formed in 1929 as the Accident Prevention Bureau. The Bureau came into national prominence in 1932 by winning the National Safety Council’s Traffic Safety Award, bringing Evanston the title as America’s Safest City.

Last year the bureau’s officers won first place in the IACP Traffic Safety Challenge which qualified them for national competition with other police departments throughout the country. This competition was sponsored by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. They won first place in this competition and won a fully equipped 2012 Ford Expedition.

The IACP and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration believe that an increase in traffic enforcement and education in a community results in a decrease in motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

And Evanston has seen a decrease in crashes involving pedestrians in the past three years.

The Traffic Management Bureau receives additional funding from IDOT to increase enforcement of seat belt and child restraint violations, as well as arresting drunk drivers.

The Traffic Management Bureau participates in eight enforcement campaigns a year. The Labor Day Campaign currently in progress resulted in 79 citations written during a seatbelt enforcement zone on Aug. 17, 58 for not wearing a seatbelt.

The bureau is working with the city’s Public Works Department as part as the Pedestrian Safety Initiative recently passed by the City Councilto combine education, enforcement and engineering to make Evanston one of the safest Cities in the country for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.

Top: Traffic Management Bureau members at the IACP awards ceremony.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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