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Midland Police Are Targetting Traffic Violators Over Labor Day Weekend As The City Faces A Rising Crash Rate

By Mitch Borden

This Labor Day weekend, Midland’s police department will begin something they’re calling a “maximum enforcement period.” Law enforcement officers will be out in greater numbers over the next several days to crack down on traffic violations that contribute to car crashes — which have skyrocketed over the last few years.

MPD is pulling in all of its patrol officers to crackdown on speeding, DWI’s, and drivers who blow past stop signs. They’ll patrol areas the city of Midland has recently mapped out as its most dangerous roads. In other cities, this would be routine traffic enforcement but Midland doesn’t have enough police officers to regularly give these violations enough attention. 

According to MPD Lieutenant Kenny Angell, who manages the department's traffic division the lack of enforcement, "comes down to a manpower issue, we’re 50 officers short."

Midland is on track to have 5,000 crashes or more by the end of 2019, said Angell, which would be 800 crashes up from last year. Since, January, Midland has seen 14 fatal accidents on roads within city limits alone. Going forward, Angell says the way MPD manages traffic will still be restricted by the department’s officer shortage, but they’ll continue to monitor where accidents are taking place. 

The one thing the department can do he said, is"keep up with these maps from the city. So we have certain areas to focus on those big areas that people are running those red lights or having those rear-enders." These traffic maps will allow officers to focus on problem areas long term and mitigate dangerous driving. MPD’s maximum enforcement period will be lifted by September 6th. 

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.