The Manchester Township Police Traffic Safety Unit was formed in 1971 by the late-Chief Harold R. Payne in response to the increased amount of vehicular traffic passing through a growing Ocean County. With four major traffic routes funneling daily commuters and weekend tourists to and from the shore area, a need was recognized for development of unit which would conduct proactive enforcement as well as investigate motor vehicle crashes. A specialized unit was made, and has been in place ever since, growing into a multi-faceted, highly accomplished and professional section within the Division of Police. The Traffic Safety Section is comprised of highly skilled police officers whose training and expertise provide valuable services to the citizens of Manchester Township and the surrounding communities.
Besides conducting traffic enforcement and investigating motor vehicle crashes, the traffic safety section and its member officers participate in and instruct a host of education programs which benefit both the residents of Manchester Township as well as the members of the law enforcement community.
Community based education focuses heavily on school-aged children and is designed to teach and reinforce safe habits beginning with bicycle riding and helmet wearing and culminating with careful and responsible motor vehicle operations. The Traffic Safety Officers are heavily involved in the Manchester Township schools instructing students on such topics as school bus evacuation, school bus safety, and bicycle safety. They also teach such courses as, Strong Kids, Safe Kids, Stranger Danger, Easy Steps Pedestrian, Defensive Driving and Alive at 25.
From the standpoint of safety, the officers within the Traffic Safety Section are instrumental each year in preparing grants and procuring moneys for the purpose of conducting special enforcement details aimed at keeping Manchester’s roadways safe. These grants provide tens-of-thousands of dollars to fund enforcement operations such as Drunk Driving Enforcement, Click-It-Or-Ticket, Over the Limit, Under Arrest, as well as fund several DWI Checkpoints. Other safety-minded details and programs include annual Halloween and Manchester Day patrols, periodic Child Restraint Education classes and monthly Child Seat Safety Inspections. Those officers within the unit aim to provide educational benefits to young and old residents alike, understanding that those new to driving as well as those who have been driving for over 50 years can always learn something new when it comes to driving safety.
With regard to their contributions to the law enforcement community, officers within the unit support the Ocean County Police Academy, teaching police recruits Defensive Driving, Emergency Vehicle Operations, High Speed Pursuit, and Accident Investigation. Its members are also an integral part of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Accident Support Team.
The Traffic Safety Section also conducts engineering studies, evaluations and assessments which focus on roadway safety within the township. Over the last decade, the product of their studies has led to the installation of more than four hundred (400) stop signs, and over one hundred (100) speed limit signs. Data collection and analysis has also helped to identify dozens of hazardous roadway conditions and locations.