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MCSO begins focused enforcement in Sun City

Posted 4/27/17

By Rusty Bradshaw

Independent Newsmedia

Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies are taking names and giving citations in Sun City.

Under a traffic services program started April 1, MCSO …

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MCSO begins focused enforcement in Sun City

By Rusty Bradshaw
Independent Newsmedia

Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies are taking names and giving citations in Sun City.

Under a traffic services program started April 1, MCSO officers are working specific areas of the community to try and change the driving behavior of residents and nonresidents alike. In the first few weeks of implementation, the program is seeing some results, according to Capt. Paul Chagolla, MCSO District 3 commander.

Capt. Paul Chagolla

“We have dedicated deputies for this program,” he said. “We are targeting the area withe the most egregious problems.”

Those areas were selected based on a few reports from residents and deputies’ own observations when they are in the community for traffic accidents and other issues. However, Mr. Chagolla said continued reporting of issues by residents will help identify any other areas of concern.

“Previous to implementation, we had only three contacts of people reporting bad driving,” he said.

Residents at the April 19 Sun City Home Owners Association Roads and Safety Committee meeting offered a variety of issues. But Mr. Chagolla wants continued reports.

“I hear what you are saying, but we still need that reporting in real time for tracking purposes,” he said.

Jim Powell

Residents can call the district office, 602-876-1602, or make comments on the MCSO website, www.mcso.org, to report traffic issues.

Areas on deputies’ radar currently include Del Webb Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Bell Road, Union Hills Drive, and Alabama Avenue and Thunderbird Boulevard between 99th and 111th avenues. There is also an emphasis on Bell Road. Other areas can be targeted as more information comes in, Mr. Chagolla said.

“Our focus is to change driving behaviors,” he added.

Since the April 1 program implementation, deputies made 47 traffic stops in the community, giving 32 citations and 15 warnings.

“From those stops, we did see that there was a 2-1 ratio with more nonresident drivers than residents,” Mr. Chagolla said.

He added the most common citations were for speeding.

Resident Jim Powell, Sun City Home Owners Association Roads and Safety Committee chairman, believes 99th Avenue is becoming more of a problem regarding speeding than Bell Road. A specific problem connected with the two roadways is red light runners where the two roadways intersect.

“How do you enforce red light runners?” he asked. “It is difficult to enforce with cars, and MCSO does not have motorcycles; and people don’t want the red light cameras.”

Resident Greg Eisert believes part of the enforcement issues in Sun City stem from the fact the community is not a municipality with its own police force.

“MCSO does not have the manpower to take care of all of our concerns,” he said.

In terms of staffing needs, resident Art Jenkins, a SCHOA board member, suggested MCSO could access a ready resource.

“The Posse can be a good asset to help spot problems,” he said.

In regards to parking issues, Mr. Jenkins believes an educational process could solve much of the issue.

“When I patrolled with the Posse and saw someone parked on the sidewalk or on the wrong side, I would find the owner and talk to them,” he said. “Most times they did not realize they were causing a problem, or even that it was illegal.”

The SCHOA committee continued its discussion of increased enforcement for parking violations, particularly parking on sidewalks and on the wrong side of the street.

“In all aspects of law enforcement, we need to be fair to all involved,” Mr. Chagolla said. “But, during a patrol, if we see something of imminent danger, we will act.”

He added the increase in population in the West Valley, both in residents and transients, have created increased problems to deal with.

A committee request to remove exception signs on “no parking” signs along the northbound lanes of 111th Avenue remains under study by MCDOT officials. But removing those signs could increase parking on the tributary streets and that could create an obstacle. Mike Albertson of MCDOT said if residents along those tributary streets complain about parking in front of their homes it would eliminate the possibility of removing the exceptions, which allow 111th Avenue parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

“I live on one of those streets and I don’t complain about it,” Mr. Powell said. “And I’ve talked to my neighbors and they won’t complain.”

But Mr. Albertson said if even one resident complains about parking in front of their homes that will mean the exception signs will have to remain.

“It is dangerous and makes no sense to allow parking in a travel lane,” Mr. Powell said.

MCDOT officials observed the area during Easter Sunday and no vehicles were seen parking on 111th Avenue. But there were many parked on the access road adjacent to it and on the tributary streets in the area of three churches.