What the Town is doing:
For several years the Town has allocated $30,000 for traffic enforcement, primarily to combat speeding. In the past, the Town has split these funds, and contracted with both the State Police and the Chittenden County Sheriff Department for these services ($15,000 each). First, we have been in touch with these agencies to encourage them to bolster their hours in order to utilize the entire contract amount for this fiscal year (ending June 30). As indicated in the Town Report, in past years, we haven’t always utilized our full traffic enforcement budget. Second, for the upcoming fiscal year (FY15-16, July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016), the Selectboard decided to use the Sheriff Department exclusively for our traffic enforcement contract. Third, after discussions with the Sheriff Department, we are updating our contract to reflect our desire for focus on the Town roads with the highest volume of through traffic (e.g., Old Stage Rd, Woods Hollow Rd, Cambridge Rd, etc.), and for focus on the time of day when we see our heaviest traffic (e.g., morning and evening peaks). Even with this focus, they will still do enforcement on lower volume Town Roads and our two State highways (Route 128 & Route 15). The Sheriff Department has attended several of our meetings, and has been responsive to our requests and our observations about where we are seeing speeding issues. With that said, they are the law enforcement experts, so we’ll continue to provide feedback without dictating how they do their speed patrols. Fourth, we are discussing using a portion of our traffic enforcement budget to purchase portable radar speed signs.
What residents can do:
The Sheriff Department is very interested in getting tips about speeders from Westford residents. They cannot issue citations based on tips, but they can and do adjust their enforcement based on tips, including being actively on the lookout for problem vehicles/drivers. At our June 4 meeting, Sheriff Department personnel indicated that many speeders use a specific route regularly at a specific time of day – e.g., morning or evening commute time, after school time, etc. Residents are encouraged to report vehicle information (e.g., type and color; plate if possible) and incident information (e.g., location, day, time, estimated speed) to Town Office staff who will then forward it to the Sheriff Department. The Department has a good working relationship with our Town Office staff, hence the protocol above. With that said, residents can contact the Sheriff Department directly at 863-4341. Residents willing to allow Sheriff Department personnel the use of your driveway for patrolling purposes are encouraged to contact the Town Office (878-4587 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, address, and phone number.
Regardless of our contract with the Sheriff Department, the Vermont State Police remain Westford’s principal law enforcement agency. When residents dial 911 for law enforcement assistance, it will be the State Police that respond. Similarly, non-emergency questions about law enforcement matters should still be directed to the State Police at their Williston office at 878-7111. The State Police are still responsible for traffic enforcement on Route 128 and Route 15. While patrolling in Westford, the Sheriff Department can and will respond to other law enforcement issues (e.g., property check, suspicious persons), but their primary purpose under our contract is traffic enforcement.