Coburg police to assist Harrisburg traffic patrols

The agreement with Coburg will also not raise public safety costs.

Posted: Jan 22, 2020 10:49 AM
Updated: Jan 23, 2020 7:35 PM

HARRISBURG, Ore. -- As part of a mutual aid agreement, Coburg police will be assisting Harrisburg traffic enforcement patrols starting in February.

According to city officials, complaints about drivers speeding and ignoring traffic signals have been frequent. While Harrisburg has an agreement with the Linn County Sheriff's Office for overall law enforcement, Mayor Bobby Duncan said in a press release that "they simply do not have adequate personnel to focus on traffic-related issues."

Residents in Coburg have noticed traffic issues across the town, from Highway 99 to school zones. 

"There have been occurrences of 35, 55 mph in a 25 mph zone during school hours. That's a big concern for everyone, except for apparently the driver," said city council member Mike Caughey. 

City officials said they still expect to renew a modified agreement with the sheriff's office reducing traffic enforcement responsibilities. The cost of Coburg's services, capped at $15,000, will be offset by savings from the modified sheriff's office contract. 

According to the city, Coburg officers patrolling in Harrisburg will wear Coburg uniforms and drive vehicles with both Harrisburg and Coburg markings for about 25 hours per month beginning in February. 

Officials said there are typically 15 to 20 traffic warnings and tickets written in Harrisburg each month. With Coburg's equipment, the town can better collect data about where and when.

"They have the equipment and they can bring it here and determine, 'Well, how many speeders do we actually have here, for example on Diamond Hill Road? And when are those speeders most likely to be there?'" said interim city administrator John Hitt.

The city councils of Harrisburg and Coburg both approved the pilot agreement. Representatives from both cities are required to assess the program in November and decide it's future before it's scheduled termination at the end of the year.

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