Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor police cracking down on traffic violations

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Burns Harbor Police Chief Mike Heckman said the number of tickets the BHPD had to give out last month was “literally atrocious.”

Heckman reported at last night’s Town Council meeting that of the 34 violations Duneland police forces found on their recent increased patrols for school bus safety, nine were in Burns Harbor. Eight drivers were cited for bus stop arm violations, and BHPD got one driver on a misdemeanor offense of passing a school bus recklessly.

“For our small community, that’s pretty high. For one subdivision, it’s outrageous for people to be doing that,” Heckman said.

Town Attorney Clay Patton made a reminder that drivers in all lanes must stop for a school bus on sections of U.S. 20 that aren’t divided. Per state law, all traffic must stop for school buses on highways that have no medians, regardless of which side of the road the bus stops.

Hackman reported he has also increased patrols in response to resident complaints of people blowing stop signs and speeding in the Village and Trail Creek subdivisions. In just four hours on Burns Blvd. in the Village, Heckman cited 16 drivers for stop sign violations. “And these weren’t rolling stops. I’m talking about tap the brakes and go,” he said.

Heckman said he patrolled from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. to catch drivers being unsafe while kids were going to and from school. After he cited those first 16 drivers, he stationed four officers in the Village for the following two weeks and contacted the State Police to have them help catch speeders on U.S. 20. Hackman said he instructed BHPD officers to be “robots,” and give out tickets to anyone who does something to warrant being stopped. Trail Creek is next up for the increased patrols.

Heckman said speeding and stop sign violations aren’t just bad in the Village and Trail Creek either: “It’s bad in every section of Town.” Other departments will be encouraged to come out and patrol in Burns Harbor if the problem continues, he added.

Several residents were at last night’s meeting with concerns about traffic safety. Village resident Sarah Oudman thanked the BHPD for increasing patrols and putting in a lot of effort while they have a limited force.

Another resident who lives near the newest stop sign in Trail Creek said Amazon Prime drivers and construction workers especially seem to ignore the speed limit and blow stop signs. He added that his wife yelled at one driver who ran a stop sign, and the driver actually made a U-turn “just to come back and say some nasty things.” Heckman said BHPD has identified the owner of that vehicle, though it was being driven by someone else at the time of the incident, and BHPD is on the lookout for it to come back through town.

As for what residents can do when they see violations, Heckman said, “We can write a citation on your word, but you need to be willing to go to court when the time comes.”

A young Trail Creek resident, Mae Burnside, asked to address the Council and said she sees lots of drivers disregard stop signs while she’s playing outside with her friends and neighbors. “People don’t stop even though they see three-and two-year-olds,” Burnside said. “Sometimes I yell at them, and they don’t even care because I’m little.”

Council member Kevin Tracy and Heckman told Burnside the BHPD is going to make people care.


Posted 9/12/2019




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