The West Fargo Police Department has been working hard to get the word out about buckling up. The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) participated in May Mobilization, the nationwide Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign from May 24 to June 6. NDDOT provided overtime funding to law enforcement agencies to step up enforcement of seat belt laws. The West Fargo Police received this funding and added extra officers to enforce seat belt violations. Another component to the campaign included public information and education about occupant protection.
West Fargo Police educated students and rewarded them for wearing their seat belts. On May 18, School Resource Officers Balvik and Pearson spent the day at the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center demonstrating the rollover simulator to 400 students. The rollover simulator is half of a pickup truck that spins around to show the tragic results of not wearing your seat belt. Two life-sized dummies are placed in the pickup unbelted. As it spins, they are tossed around and ejected from the vehicle to show the devastating results of not wearing seat belts. According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol, 92% of unrestrained rollover crash victims from 2003 to the present were ejected. Rollover crashes resulted in 327 deaths during that same time period.
The police department has teamed up with area businesses to purchase incentives to give away to students wearing their seat belts. The Monsanto Company collected funds to purchase incentives for a second year. Some of the businesses that contributed money were Fargo Tank, Johnston Culvert and SES Vanderhave. The police department worked with businesses willing to match Monsanto Company's collective donation. Matching fund participants included West Fargo Dairy Queen, Stop-N-Go, Subway, and AAA of North Dakota.
On May 14, students at West Fargo High School were rewarded for wearing their seat belts. Officers observed students as they drove into the parking lot. Students who were buckled received gift cards for Stop-N-Go. On May 24, School Resource Officer Pearson demonstrated the rollover simulator for 400 students at the high school. These students received buckle up air fresheners and notepads courtesy of NDDOT.
The West Fargo Police Department also participated in a news conference held at West Fargo High School on May 24, that announced the start of the Click It or Ticket campaign and featured two speakers, North Dakota Highway Patrol Southeast Region Commander Eldon Mehrer and Minnesota State Patrol District Commander Bruce Hentges. Following the news conference, Officer Pearson demonstrated the rollover simulator to members of the media.
May 25-27 officers observed students at Aurora, Westside, South, Eastwood and L.E. Berger elementary schools, and the Early Childhood Center. Students that were properly restrained when they arrived at school were rewarded with gift cards to Subway and Dairy Queen.
The West Fargo Police Department also promoted the campaign on Twitter at WestFargoPolice and Facebook at the West Fargo Police Department. To date, West Fargo Police wrote 78 seat belt and child restraint citations.