Traffic safety important to everyone

The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office’s traffic unit dates back to 1998, when OCSO was awarded a grant to start one. It originally consisted of two deputies, then grew to three; however, in 2010, through promotions and loss of the grant, the unit was reduced to one deputy. That one deputy is Deputy Adrian Rogers. He spends anywhere from eight to 10 hours at a time on his motorcycle in all weather conditions, all year long.

Recently, the Okeechobee Police Department created a traffic unit, operated by Officer Ryan Holroyd. Officer Holroyd will be attending an intense and specialized two-week police motorcycle training course where safety and defensive tactics are stressed.

OCSO and OPD have recently purchased “Smart Machines.” You’ve probably seen these machines on the roads. They are machines that show your speed as you approach them. These machines enable law enforcement to identify the problem areas in neighborhoods, on the roadways and the time of day that speed is increased.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/OCSO
OPD Chief Bob Peterson, Officer Ryan Holroyd, OCSO Deputy Adrian Rogers and Sheriff Noel Stephen pose with one of the new “smart machines.”

The motorcycle units’ primary assignments are traffic enforcement, their goal being to facilitate and promote the safe movement of traffic throughout Okeechobee County. They will also participate in numerous other events including parades, VIP escorts, funeral escorts, displays and other community events.
Deputy Rogers and Officer Holroyd will train monthly with other law enforcement agencies.

City Police Chief Bob Peterson stated: “As anyone who lives or works here knows, the amount of traffic, and traffic-related complaints, have increased significantly over the years. As a consequence we have implemented, using only existing resources and money, a full-time traffic unit, which now includes a police motorcycle, the first of its kind at the Police Department. We are looking forward to working with the Sheriff’s Office traffic unit toward making Okeechobee a safe place to drive.”

Sheriff Noel E. Stephen stated: “One of our major complaints to date is in reference to traffic speed on our roadways. The continued collaboration between Chief Peterson and I will focus on this issue. It is not our intent to cost our citizens additional expense but to make them aware of their speed while they are headed to their respective destinations. Our community is growing and we have a lot of people traveling through our community all day and night. Coupled with our Northern guests, these things cause considerable congestion to our roadways. We are also aware of the many distractions within our vehicles that cause focus to be taken off the road in front of us. We want our motoring public to be aware and safe. We ask everyone to assist us to achieve this goal.”

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