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Blaine crunches data for traffic infraction enforcement


Last updated 1/1/2020 at 5:46pm

Jami Makan

Blaine police chief Donnell Tanksley and Washington Traffic Safety Commission manager Doug Dahl presenting to Blaine city councilmembers on November 25.

The Blaine Police Department, with assistance from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), plans to use more data to target its traffic enforcement activities, in an effort reduce serious-injury and fatal crashes in the city.

In a joint presentation to Blaine city council, Blaine police chief Donnell Tanksley and WTSC manager Doug Dahl presented detailed statistics about crashes and traffic violations in Blaine and Whatcom County. The November 25 presentation was the start of an effort to make traffic enforcement in Blaine primarily data-driven, as opposed to being based just on officer discretion or citizen input.

"If you really want to see a strong impact in your enforcement efforts, data-driven is really an important factor," Dahl told councilmembers. "Chief Tanksley is committed to investing in enforcement that's connected with being data-driven."

Dahl gave an example from his time as a traffic safety coordinator at the sheriff's office. "We would track the top 10 collision roads in the county," he said. "We would put those up on a board, and those would be the priority enforcement areas for the following year. Each year that we did that, we would see that there was a decrease in serious-injury crashes, fatal crashes and crashes overall."

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