22News goes on a ride along with Southwick police

Digital First

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News went on a ride along with Southwick police after receiving a complaint about speeding in town.

Officer Ernest Malone first took 22News to Matthews Road, which is where the viewer complained about speeding. Although it was pretty quiet Tuesday morning, Officer Malone said it is a popular cut-through road, as it is located between Feeding Hills Road and Foster Road.

We also conducted stationary radar on South Longyard Road, College Highway, and Powder Mill Road, resulting in six traffic stops for speeding. Officer Malone also pulled over two drivers for running stop signs at the three-way intersection of Depot Street, Powder Mill Road, and South Longyard Road.

In total, eight drivers were stopped during our ridealong. Six were stopped for speeding and two were stopped for running stop signs. Officer Malone issued all of the drivers warnings.

“A popular misconception is that officers actually have quotas,” Malone said. “We do not have quotas, I can’t speak for other departments, but we don’t have any quotas as far as how many citations we should give out or how many motor vehicle stops we should make.”

Officer Malone said he tends to give out more warnings than citations.

“I try to be understanding as far as when I pull over a speeder or something like that, I would say if I have to put a number on it, probably 80 percent warnings to 20 percent actual citations. I’ll take driver history into consideration, weather conditions on the road, time of day, if they have been pulled over or issued warnings in the past.”

Malone said drivers should remain in the vehicle if they are stopped by police. He said it is best to keep your hands on the wheel as well.

Southwick Police Sgt. Rhett Bannish told 22News there were 1,266 speeding violations in the city in 2018.

Below is a ‘Speeding vehicles complaint form’ that Southwick residents can fill out and hand in or email to the police department:

Highlights from the Southwick PD ride along:

Traffic Stop: 53 in a 35 MPH

Officer Ernest Malone pulled over a delivery vehicle on South Longyard Road for going 53 in a 35 miles per hour zone.

Traffic Stop: 54 in a 35 MPH

Officer Malone made the second traffic stop on South Longyard Road for a car that was going 54 in a 35 miles per hour zone. The driver told the officer he was jamming to music.

Traffic Stop: 51 in a 35 MPH

Officer Malone said he was alerted to this driver after she slammed on her brakes. The driver said she was going to a hair appointment.

Medical Call:

After the third stop, Officer Malone headed to the senior center for a medical call. 22News had to stay in the car, but Officer Malone said the woman reported to be choking had coughed up the food before emergency crews got there.

Traffic Stop: 47 in a 30 MPH

A young driver coming from Granville Road in Southwick heading to Agawam. Officer Malone pulled the driver over for going 47 mph in a 30 mph zone on Powder Mill Road in Southwick. She was issued a warning.

Traffic Stop: 55MPH on College Hwy

Another young driver stopped on College Highway in Southwick for doing 55 MPH. This one serves as a reminder to stay in your vehicle if you are pulled over, as the driver got out of the car once he was stopped. Officer Malone also inquired about the driver’s tinted windows.

Traffic Stop: Stop sign violation

Officer Malone witnessed a driver go through a stop sign at the end of Depot Street in Southwick.

Traffic Stop: Stop sign violation

Officer Malone issued a citation warning for a driver who he witnessed go through a stop sign. A written warning documents the violation but no money is attached to it.

Your questions answered:

Q: What excuses do you hear for speeding?

Q: Why do police ask where people are going?

Q: How often does he give out warnings as opposed to tickets? Also, what’s his quota?

Q: Do officers need to be visible when conducting stationary radar?

22News Live Traffic Map

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