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Edina's 'We're All Over' Traffic Citation Strategy Cuts Crime, Police Chief Says

Edina is well known for issuing more speeding tickets per capita than any other Twin Cities police department.

Edina’s police force has long been famous for the number of traffic citations it issues.

The city issued more speeding tickets per capita in 2011—8,700—than did any of the other 84 police departments throughout the metro area. And in 2009, Edina cops caught Vikings star Adrian Peterson driving 109 miles per hour.

But the city’s reputation as a speeding stickler is to be praised, says outgoing police chief Jeff Long.

“When we work really hard, sometimes people get mad at that,” he said in an interview earlier this year, “but there’s a direct correlation between traffic enforcement and crime reduction because if people are seeing cops, they’re going to remember that.”

To prove his point, Long shares a surprising anecdote.

In 2011 and 2012, during the “Man in Black” robbery spree that would target 31 Minnesota banks, Edina was on high alert, Long said, placing undercover detectives “in every bank, every morning, just waiting for him to hit.”

But Edina’s banks stayed Man in Black free and after Sheik Bilaal Muhammad Arafat was arrested in January, Long developed a theory as to why.

“He had been arrested once in Edina and stopped once in Edina for a traffic violation,” he said. “When they see cops, they’re going to stay away, because they think we’re all over.”

About 35 of Edina’s officers patrol the city’s 230 miles of roads. The three highways that run through Edina—169, 62, and 100—have speed limits 5 to 10 miles below the state limit for urban expressways. Average speeding tickets are issued to people driving 17 miles per hour over the limit.

“We get constant complaints from people that people are just driving too fast,” Long said. “It’s not the police department that’s aggressive, it’s the drivers.”
Mike B. January 02, 2014 at 08:10 PM
No one objects to Edina Police citing way -over- the- limit speeders. What people object to are speed traps at Wooddale and 50th, with the downhill road, as well as the downhill area just south of hwy 62 on Xerxes, and similar areas. This is not traffic enforcement to make the roads safe. It is to pad the city coffers. Otherwise, the city would post signs to the effect of "Watch downhill speed," etc. I have never received a ticket in Edina, so I have no personal gripe. I did recently have a out-of-town visitor who got his first speeding ticket EVER, in Edina, of course. And I don't really blame the police, who do a fine job in this city. The city council is behind this.
David F January 03, 2014 at 10:03 AM
The bottom line is that the efforts of speed enforcement on freeways in Edina has not had much of an impact on speeding. Why is Edina using so many resources on the freeways when there enough problems with bad drivers and petty theft in Edina? I have never heard of putting city paid for resources into a business, usually this is paid for by the business and certainly banks can pay for their own security. Edina needs a new leader of the police department who will put the safety of the community first not just the freeways.
Babette Bean January 03, 2014 at 10:09 AM
I am all for whatever keeps crime down and feel visibility is important.
David F January 03, 2014 at 10:19 AM
undercover police and police on freeways is not high visibility. Modern police forces do community policing and get to know the communities and business people. Freeways are a problem but there is the state patrol to handle those issues. The police need to be more visible at schools which they are present very often. The Edina police have told me that Edina Schools are private property and will not enter them unless there is an emergency. I moved from a school district in a similar community to Edina where there was a very visible police presence at schools. I have heard from the Edina School board that our schools are safe because there have been no major criminal events. Not sure that is a good approach to school safety.
Babette Bean January 03, 2014 at 11:01 AM
Police cars are high visibility.
Mike B. January 03, 2014 at 11:04 AM
A couple of other pertinent points: 1) "Mysteriously," there are few "speeders" when the weather is cold outside. The police don't want to get out of their squad cars to write tickets when the temps are below 30 degrees. I can't blame them. The speed trap at Wooddale and 50th only appears in warmer months. 2) Many out-of-town drivers note that the Edina police point their radar guns at traffic from the overpasses on Gleason as well as Tracy on Hwy 62. If drivers are not from the area, drivers correctly believe some criminal is targeting autos from the overpasses in a threatening behavior. Leading the state in ticket writing is not something to be proud of. Having police officers sitting in squad cars in speed traps is not an effective use of their specialized training either.
David F January 03, 2014 at 11:15 AM
The speed traps on the freeways are also problematic when they park along side the freeway and then suddenly pull out with their lights on. I have had to almost stop several times on the freeway when their lights suddenly go on. I think some of these speed traps on the freeways have become a road hazard not to mention when they pull over cars on both sides of the freeway. If the rumors are true that all these speeding tickets pay for one police officers salary that information should be made public. The majority of the Edina police cars I see on the road are sitting doing speed enforcement. While visible they are visible in predictable areas along busy roads and freeways.
Scott January 03, 2014 at 01:16 PM
The cost of writing the citation exceeds the small amount the city gets to the general fund. Thus, tickets are not the big moneymaker. Quotas are illegal by statute. All roads in the city should be worked as this helps us all when we drive on them. All vehicles have an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal which are controlled by the driver. When you go up a hill you can use the accelerator to maintain your sipped, when going downhill you can use the brake pedal. Trying to post more signs to tell drivers to do the right thing and how to drive over various topography fits with the logic of a five year old. The driver is responsible for their actions while operating a vehicle. It is never the police departments fault that they get the pleasure of catching them. If you cannot drive , simply stop.
David F January 03, 2014 at 01:23 PM
Unfortunately if you watch residential streets in Edina many cars only slow down for stop signs and many times I have stared down cars that think stop signs are optional. Edina is not void of bad drivers so I am not a proponent of concentrating police resources in one place. I think the policies and procedures of the Edina police department need to be reviewed and hopefully this will happen under the new police chief,
Mike B. January 03, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Also, based on anecdotal evidence, Edina police never issue "warnings" instead of tickets. I am guessing police officers are under orders to write tickets, and not issue warnings (as warnings due not generate revenue).
Mike B. January 06, 2014 at 07:12 PM
"Quotas" may be technically illegal, but that's just because police departments are under orders not to use that word, for fear of getting caught by the media.

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