Ridealong with Westfield police

Westfield pd ride along

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News Digital Reporter Monica Ricci went on a ridealong with Westfield police Friday to see how they enforce driving laws.

The four-hour traffic detail was made possible by a Sustained Traffic Enforcement Program, or STEP, grant. From 8:00 a.m. until noon, Monica and Lt. Kevin Bard went on patrol around some of the traffic trouble spots of Westfield. 

During the traffic enforcement detail, Bard issued multiple verbal warnings, written warnings, and civil infractions (monetary citations).

Bard told 22News the most common infraction they see is speeding. He said some speeding hot spots are Springfield Road, Southampton Road, Franklin Street, Russell Road, and East Mountain Road. 

“But really any road is open for speeding no matter where you are,” Bard said. “It’s whether or not an officer is there to enforce it.”

RECAP: The reason I stopped you….

Ridealong Highlights

1. Speeding violation on Russel Road – 63MPH in a posted 50MPH

Result: Written warning

Do written warnings go on your record?

“They do not, however, he’s in our database,” Bard explained. “If in fact he gets pulled over again, that’s part of his record. So that will play a part in the next officer’s decision making on whether or not he issues him a civil citation or a verbal warning.”

2. Red light violation at Elm and Franklin Streets

Result: Verbal warning

Are verbal warnings logged?

“Even verbal warnings are documented,” Bard said. “So now, once again, if he were to get pulled over for doing a similar thing, or maybe not, it’s a documented stop and the officers can use that to determine whether or not he gets a civil citation next time or maybe a written warning.”

3. Speeding violation 

4. Speeding violation – 56MPH in a posted 40 MPH on Southampton Road

Result: Civil citation (monetary citation)

Why a ticket and not a warning?

“He was going over the posted speed limit, and the roads conditions are wet,” Bard explained. “So, therefore, he will be getting a civil citation. When I get up to his vehicle I’ll explain to him the process of how he can go about appealing the ticket or pay it.”

5. Speeding violation

Result: Civil citation (monetary citation)

6. Cell phone use

Result: Verbal warning

“She admitted to using her cell phone,” Bard said. “She was checking something on it, wasn’t texting but was checking it. Either way it’s a violation on a public way.”

“Honesty, at least in my profession, honesty goes a long ways.”

When can you use your cell phone?

The only time you can use your cell phone on a public way is if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, during a medical emergency, or if you witness a motor vehicle accident. Then you can legally use your cell phone.”

How did you realize she was on her phone?

“So, when I went by her, she was looking at her cell phone and then put it down,” Bard said. “But what drew my attention to her was the fact that there was a 15-20 foot gap between her and the car in front of her. That tells me she was looking down for a brief period of time to check whatever she was checking on her cell phone.”

7. Red light violation at Elm and Franklin Streets / Expired registration

Result: Driver was given the opportunity to renew his registration online during the traffic stop so that his car didn’t have to be towed away.

Your questions answered:

What’s the craziest speeding excuse you’ve heard?

“A crazy excuse….I would have to say they have to get home to go to the bathroom,” Bard said. “Not often, but I hear it once in a while. They have to go home, they’re in a rush and they have to go to their house to go to the bathroom. So they left wherever they had to leave, didn’t go there, but for whatever reason had to go home to go to the bathroom.”

Does it drive officers crazy when the driver in front of them drives the exact speed limit because we don’t want to get a speeding ticket?

“The speed limit is designed for that purpose,” Bard said. “If you drive the speed limit exactly you’re not going to get pulled over. But like I said before, if you drive 10 miles beneath the speed limit you can be subjected to a motor vehicle stop because of that. You can also be stopped for going five miles over the speed limit.”

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