Fourth safety exercise a success; RBPD launches new smart phone app

As the masses of people flood the Oregon Coast, the Rockaway Beach Police Department (RBPD) is focusing on the safety of all civilians.
By Max Kirkendall
North Coast Citizen
On July 17, the RBPD conducted its fourth pedestrian safety exercise this year. Since the results from the first three exercises were fairly consistent, the RBPD expected nothing less from July’s demonstration.
In the two hours of focused enforcement, 129 volunteers crossed the roadway and only 12 vehicles were stopped in the two-hour span for failing to yield. Stops resulted in just four citation issuances, which were directly related to vehicles not stopping for pedestrians.
The exercises have consistently shown a high rate of compliance with Oregon’s crosswalk laws according to the RBPD. This latest exercise was no different, with 97 percent of vehicles stopping appropriately, a number Sgt. Sean Ahlers is pleased to see.
“I’d say they’ve been very successful so far,” Ahlers said. “We’ve had a really low number of stops and it shows that people are paying more attention to the crosswalks.”
Ahlers said the next pedestrian safety exercise is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 14.
The RBPD will be participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign Aug. 17 through Sept. 3. They will be teaming up with the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon Impact and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to increase impaired driving awareness and enforcement. During that time, the RBPD will have more patrols out on the roads that are focused on impaired driving enforcement.
In addition, the RBPD will also be joining in the Oregon Safety Belt enforcement blitz from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2. The blitz is a federally funded overtime period that will allow them to concentrate on proper seat belt and child safety restraint use.
The RBPD also announced on July 16, they have launched a free smartphone application available for download on Apple and Android devices. The app features the ability to get directions to the police station, a call button to allow you to call the police office, the See and Say button to let the police know things you are seeing that may need police attention and an interest form if you want to become a volunteer.
It also has the ability to send push notifications regarding helpful information, upcoming activities, as well as other news important to the citizens and visitors of Rockaway Beach. The app has been in the works for a while and something Ahlers was excited to announce.
“We think a lot of people will download it, not just citizens but visitors of Rockaway Beach too,” Ahlers said. “We don’t run any kind of social media, such as a Facebook page or Twitter, so we were excited to have something that is easy to use for our citizens and we felt like it was the best way to reach out to people.”
To wrap up the summer months and get back into the swing of the school season, the RBPD will be working with the Neah-Kah-Nie School District in an active shooter response exercise. The response will show students how to be prepared if faced with an active shooter incident.
“We are really happy they reached out to us to help spearhead the project,” Ahlers said. “I think it’ll give the kids a new perspective and give them a chance to know what to do in that situation.”
If you have any questions about any of these projects, you can contact Ahlers at the RBPD or by phone at 503-355-2252.