The traffic team is overseen by the Special Enforcement Bureau lieutenant and sergeant, and directly supervised by a corporal. The traffic team consists of six full-time officers and one non-commissioned parking enforcement employee.
In 2012, for the second year in a row, the Joplin Police Department had fewer than 2,000 crashes with 1,874. This was made possible with a department-wide effort. The traffic team investigated close to 54% of all crashes, and also investigated the six fatal crashes that resulted in the deaths of seven people in the City of Joplin last year.
During 2012, the police department was able to send the entire traffic team and a few other officers to accident reconstruction training, which the police department co-hosted with Missouri Safety Center. As a result, Joplin Police Department now has 11 active crash re-constructionists. With the partnership of KODE and KSYN television stations, monthly driver education series were conducted all in an effort to reduce the number of crashes.
Sergeant Rusty Rives featured on KSN discusses specific traffic safety topics every month:
May - Motorcycle Safety (Click HERE to download a Motorcycle Safety Banner)
April - Speeding
March - Emergency Road Conditions, Flooding Conditions
February - Missouri Graduated Driver's License Law, JPD Works to Reduce Distracted Driving
January - Seat Belts and Booster Seat Laws, Yielding to Emergency Vehicles
December - Traveler/Holiday Safety
November - Right of Way
October - School Zones/Buses
September - Center Turn Lanes
August - Following Too Close
At the end of the calendar year, the traffic team was able to purchase two speed and traffic data collection devices. With the purchase of a speed trailer, which is a portable speed-measuring device with a driver display board, we are now able to collect data from what the speed trailer is gathering and giving us a statistical representation of traffic in this area. We also purchased a traffic-counting and speed-measuring device called “Jamar”. This device is different from the speed trailer as it collects traffic counts for both directions but also the speeds of the vehicles. However, the biggest advantage to this device is that it is a small box with no markings that is able to be mounted to a utility pole. This device really gives us a “true picture” of what the traffic in this area is doing as this device is typically not seen by the motoring public.
The traffic team was also mostly responsible for the majority of law enforcement presence at the Joplin Regional Airport for the commercial flights in and out of the City of Joplin, a task now shared with patrol. The team also dedicates time and resources to investigating all leaving the scene crashes, developing crash reduction plans, addressing traffic complaints, and patrolling and providing traffic control for events such as Boomtown Days, the Boomtown Days Half Marathon, the Mother Road Marathon, and other parades. The traffic team is also an active participant with Missouri Department of Transportation Coalition for Roadway Safety, which is a statewide committee to reduce the number of fatal crashes on Missouri roadways.