February 21st, 2018

Traffic unit tweets its stormy day

By Mo Cranker on February 9, 2018.


mcranker@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNmocranker

With 17 centimetres of snow dumped on the city by 9 a.m. Thursday, it was clear it would be a busy day on the streets for the Medicine Hat Police Service’s traffic unit.

Despite answering five collision calls and having another four reported to the collision reporting centre, the unit decided to take to Twitter to give Hatters an inside look into the day.

“Considering the weather, the day wasn’t our busiest, but it definitely wasn’t slow either,” said Sgt. Clarke White. “We tried to tweet out all of the major things from the day that we could. Obviously there’s things we can’t throw out there, but we just thought today would be a good day to do this with it being tougher conditions on the road.”

The unit responded to one collision involving a stolen vehicle, and saw two people sent to the hospital with injuries in other crashes.

“Although it wasn’t our busiest day out there, it was just important for us to show people what we do in the community, as the traffic unit,” said White. “People are always wondering what the police are up to, so this was our way of showing them what we do and interacting with the community. It’s nice for us to show people what goes on behind the scenes, and to give them a glimpse into our unit.”

White says there are many steps officers take whenever they are called out to a collision.

“First thing we do is assess the danger level and make sure there’s traffic flow,” he said. “Then we have to assess injuries and get treatment for people who need it. From there we start looking for evidence. We look at what the road is telling us and we try to figure out who was at fault. The last thing is to get statements from witnesses and people involved and to make a collision report.”

White says most significant crashes will result in at least on ticket being handed out, but there are some collisions that everyone walks away from ticket free.

As for driving advice for days like Thursday, White says it’s pretty straightforward.

“The best safety tip is, if you don’t have to drive — just don’t,” he said. “The highway especially, if you can avoid going on those roads, it’s for the best. When the snow is coming down, the road workers are trying to catch up, so if you don’t need to be out, it’s best to just not be out.”

White says the unit will not be Tweeting out their activities every shift, but would consider doing it again if people wanted them to.

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