By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - The number of roadway fatalities have dropped by more than half from this time last year in the Tall City, and authorities say the evening commute is safer than ever. NewsWest 9 caught up with Midland's traffic Lieutenant who says, it's because there's more police officers on the streets.
Over the past couple years, they've had a hard time finding new recruits but now MPD is almost fully staffed. Officers are saying, that's keeping folks safer and everyone NewsWest 9 spoke with says that's comforting.
"I have definitely noticed more officers out on the roads and I think we need to keep that up," Midland Driver, Rosie Gonzales, said.
"The traffic is getting so much heavier because Midland is getting bigger and it's needed, but I think we could use a few more," Midland Driver, Connie Hargrave, said.
There were 17 traffic fatalities in the Tall City last year and so far only seven this year. Midland Police are saying there's a simple answer: more officers, means less accidents.
"We are in better shape than we have been in a while, we have a few vacancies, but not like what we did last year or the year before," Lt. Brian Bogart with the Midland Police Department, said.
Midland officers say they're combing Andrews Highway stop lights and eyeing speeders on Loop 250. And just in the past few weeks, they've stepped up weekend patrol hunting for drunk drivers.
"When people see more police officers working, it's a trickle down effect, not just the person being stopped is the one you're having an effect on, but everybody that drives by that person who has been stopped they'll slow down and think about what they're doing for just a little while longer," Lt. Bogart said.
Not only is the extra patrols helping slow down deaths on the highway, but it's making response time to city-wide calls even better.
"We are going to try to do everything we can to make the streets safer for the people who drive around here because our families drive around here too," Lt. Bogart said. "We live here and we work here and we want the streets safer for everybody."
Midland Police say this year there have been very few car-on-car fatalities. So far most of the deadly crashes have involved pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcycles.