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IMPD, residents talk about school zone traffic enforcement

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Posted at 11:17 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 11:35:05-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been a concern driving residents, city leaders, and law enforcement to find better ways to keep the roads safe. As schools return from winter break, WRTV is looking at at how IMPD is tackling traffic enforcement to remind drivers and commuters to slow down in school zones.

"I don't feel that it's gotten any better. I feel like it's always been bad and dangerous," said Katie Munn.

"Right behind me, unfortunately, a couple of years ago, we saw the death of Hannah Crutchfield," said Commander Richard Riddle of IMPD East.

It was September 14, 2021, when 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield was hit while crossing the street with her mother and a crossing guard at East Washington Street and Ritter Avenue.

"She was a very kind and loving girl, she loved the outdoors, and she loved playing with kids and bugs of all kinds. She was a bright spot in our lives," said Cassandra Crutchfield, Hannah’s mother, when we interviewed her in February 2022.

Hannah's death impacted many, a tragedy that some say could have been prevented.

"That really concerns me. I'm not a parent, but of course, I'm a member in the community, and I don't want to see any other people get hurt," said Munn.

This is a concern for families across the city who want to see more traffic enforcement on our roads.

"Councilor Ray and I have worked together to try and come up with some strategies to reduce some of the speeds we see on the East side," said Riddle.

This week IMPD East District launched targeted school zone traffic enforcement in eastside neighborhoods during school arrival and dismissal times.

"This has been a hot-button issue, and that's sort of driving me to make this a priority," said Councilor David Ray, District 19.

The two-week initiative will allow IMPD to see ways they can step up traffic enforcement. Riddle said it's a challenge when the department is facing staff shortages.

"We prioritize violence. We prioritize quality life in the neighborhoods, but that quality of life carries over into speeding. Especially when we talk about losing lives and young ones in school zones, that's where we have to take a critical look at what's important," said Riddle.

"I've tried to honk at people and stuff like that, but I feel like that's doing more damage. Honestly, I don't want any road rage incident," said Munn.

Neighbors have placed signs in certain areas throughout the east side to remind drivers to slow down and follow traffic laws.

Munn said IMPD's effort is a great start. She hopes to see more of it beyond the two-week initiative.

"Pay respect to the fact that our kids need to go home from school and to school safely," said Munn.

Riddle tells WRTV’s Amber Grigley that "enough is enough." Once the two-week initiative is up, they will look for ways to start a better enforcement posture in 2023.