FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Safety is a top priority for the Fort Campbell Provost Marshal Office. The enforcement of safety measures on the installation is most visible when police officers write citations for traffic violations.
Whether it’s addressing speeding, running a stop sign or a traffic light, or stopping impaired drivers, traffic officers at Fort Campbell work around the clock to ensure the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Recently the Tennessee Highway Safety Office recognized them for their exemplary traffic management and contribution to vehicular safety.
Tennessee Law Enforcement Challenge
The Tennessee Law Enforcement Challenge, or LEC, is a program supported by the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police and the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association that gives law enforcement agencies the opportunity to demonstrate how they promote traffic safety initiatives in the communities they serve.
Additionally, the LEC encourages law enforcement agencies to learn from one another through establishing goals in traffic safety enforcement and education.
To compete, agencies must compile traffic data between the months of February and June that exhibit the outcome of traffic-related education and initiatives performed during the previous year. The data takes into account major areas of concern, including occupant protection, impaired driving, speed enforcement, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and crash data collection and analysis, said Lt. Nicholas Pietila, traffic supervisor, traffic management and collision investigations division, PMO.
Agencies compete in the category that aligns with the size of their department and the number of officers to keep results fair. Fort Campbell competed in the 76-100 officer category this year and took home two awards.
Pietila said he is proud to announce this year’s score was the best Fort Campbell law enforcement has received in this competition thus far.
“The Fort Campbell Police Traffic Section was awarded third place in the Law Enforcement Challenge in the 76-100 officer category, we scored our highest score ever [171.5], and unofficially scored fourth overall out of the 45 departments that participated,” he said.
The two official awards were first in the regional competition with Fort Benning, Georgia, in the military police category and third in the 76-100 officer category. The unofficial fourth place is a statewide ranking that shows how Fort Campbell ranks in comparison with all the other Tennessee departments that participated, regardless of category.
Overall, the awards demonstrate Fort Campbell has impacted driver safety by reducing dangerous traffic conditions caused by driving under the influence, texting while driving, driving without wearing a seatbelt, speeding, not adhering to the rules of traffic signals such as stop signs and lights, and other safety issues including ensuring infants and toddlers are secured in car seats while inside a vehicle. All of these measures, Pietila said, are part of an effort to reduce traffic-related deaths.
“The THSO’s mission is to reduce Tennessee traffic fatalities as part of the nation’s vision Toward Zero Deaths,” he said. “The THSO works to achieve this goal by changing driver behavior through increased education, enforcement and community partnerships.”
Sergeant Jaxon Wright, 163rd Military Police Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, Traffic Management Collision Investigations, noncommissioned officer-in-charge said receiving the award felt good because it helped provide some perspective.
“Being able to show that we stack up against civilian law enforcement offices and showing that it still transfers over to the civilian side is kind of the big takeaway,” Wright said. “It’s something nice and it’s cool to kind of be able to say that this is what all our hard work amounted to.”
This was Wright’s first time participating in the competition and it was a great learning experience for him, he said.
The award reinforced the idea that all the department’s hard work and efforts really do matter, Pietila said.
“It’s validating to me with all the hard work we do throughout the year in an effort to save lives and keep the public safe and to continue to modify driver behavior,” he said. The awards, Pietila said, were evidence that Fort Campbell is doing its job well and he is pleased with the outcome.