Police Chief Talks Back to School Safety

by Terry Clark, Salida Police Chief

Greetings from the Salida Police Department. With  school  back in session and summer traffic still fairly heavy, I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss some safety issues concerning vehicles, pedestrian and bike traffic on the roads. I also wanted to give an update on our department.

We have been very busy this summer and probably the busiest I can remember. The downtown area over the course of summer certainly seems busy with foot traffic and vehicles. It is good to see the town with a lot of visitors, but it does increase issues on the streets. We have hired two new officers, one in February and the most recent in August. The officers are Oliver Williams and Michael Travis. Please welcome them to Salida. We have added two new police vehicles and you have no doubt noticed the change from our Impala police cars.

With schools back in session and the new high school opening, I would like to talk about traffic safety. I would like to point out that anyone using the public streets whether on foot, riding a bike or driving a vehicle all need to follow the rules of the road and use good safety measures. It is equally important to respect one another regardless of your mode of transportation.

This time of year as you drive in town you will encounter many school children going to and from school, some of which will be pedestrians or riding their bikes. I would ask everyone to pay close attention to the school kids as they cross intersections. Please wait on all the pedestrian traffic to clear the roadway before proceeding. I have talked on this subject before, but I want to put it out again. Pedestrians crossing in mid-block or not at intersections can create a dangerous situation for the pedestrian and driver. Some of the vehicles stop and motion the pedestrian to cross. There is danger in the fact that traffic from the other direction may not see the pedestrians in time to stop. The best practice in this case is to drive slowly on by and allow the pedestrians to make the choice when it is safe to cross. If the pedestrians are already into the street, then you will have to stop.

I would like to mention the Safe Routes to School project has been completed, and it is being used. The routes were designed in certain areas to allow the school children to walk or ride to school and have a designated lane to get to their school safely. This fall we will again be involved in teaching bicycle safety along with Shawn Gillis to the 4th grade classes. This program is great for the kids, teaching them how to ride their bikes safely and properly on the public streets. I would like to ask the adult bicycle riders to set a good example when riding on the streets, as children look up to adults and notice how they conduct themselves on their bikes.

We live in a great community with a lot of good people, and I want to thank each of you for your continued support. The Salida Police Department would like to wish you all a safe and enjoyable Fall season. If you have any questions or concerns please call at 530-2600.