CADILLAC — One MSP trooper reached an impressive milestone recently — issuing 900 traffic citations since November.
Lt. Derrick Carroll, public information officer with MSP Seventh District, said 900 tickets is well above the average for a typical trooper, which makes sense considering that the trooper that issued those tickets is focused on one thing most the time.
Aside from occasionally being called away to support other troopers and law enforcement agencies on high risk calls, the trooper's sole job is to reduce traffic violations on a particularly troublesome stretch of highway.
In response to frequent complaints about risky driving on portions of M-115, the MSP Cadillac Post earlier this year increased patrols on the road as part of their 2020 traffic initiative to make travel safer for all motorists.
The MSP Cadillac Post partnered with MSP Mount Pleasant Post to conduct traffic enforcement initiatives on M-115 focusing on the areas between M-37 in Wexford County and U.S. 10 in the south (Osceola/Clare-Mount Pleasant Post).
The goal, through increased frequency of patrols and increase in traffic contacts, will be the lowering of observed speeds and reduction of accidents, including those attributed to speed on M-115 between M-37 and U.S. 10. According to MSP, this area represents the highest calls of citizen complaints received from web tips and telephone. The enforcement initiative targets observed high-speed areas.
Carroll said the initiative remains ongoing, although it won't be until sometime next year that they know for sure if crashes have been reduced on M-115.
"This isn't a speed trap," Carroll said. "Some people think this is a revenue generator for us but we're not pulling people over for going a few miles over the speed limit. These are people going 70 or 80 miles an hour. We're hoping that higher visibility enforcement will have the effect of slowing drivers down. We've received a lot of support from the community and from transiters since we started the initiative."
During the second quarter of this year, April through June, troopers from the MSP Cadillac Post conducted 621 traffic stops, wrote 426 speeding citations, wrote 36 other citations and gave 237 verbal warnings. The fastest violator on M-115 was clocked at 116 mph.
As the holiday weekend approaches, MSP will be focusing additional resources on M-115 and other areas in expectation of increased traffic on roadways.
Carroll said the amount of troopers they have on the roads will depend on each post's available resources and the activities going on in any given area. For instance, the Houghton Lake Post will have all its troopers out this weekend.
While Carroll said it seems like tourism is down this year compared to a normal year, likely due to lingering concerns about traveling fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, traffic volumes largely have recovered since the statewide shutdown.