Wenatchee Police are getting a dedicated traffic safety unit. 

The city council has approved an agreement with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission that'll fund two full-time and one part-time position to focus on traffic safety. 

Wenatchee Police Chief Steve Crown says the city will use the money to focus on problem intersections. 

"We're going to address our top five locations in our city where we're seeing those collisions at problem intersections," said Crown, who presented the agreement to city councilors at their last meeting. 

The traffic safety unit will start operations on January 1st. The grant from the Traffic Safety Commission will supply the officers’ salaries for two years, after which the city be responsible for funding. 

The commission will reimburse the city for the two patrol officers and one part-time sergeant. The grant will total $881,392 for the two-year duration. 

The primary work of the traffic unit will be traffic enforcement and collision investigation with an emphasis on coordination with the Washington State Patrol, Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, City of Wenatchee Engineering Department, public education, and Drug Recognition Experts. 

Crown said it's the first time the city will have a dedicated staff with a supervisory chain of command, whereas in the past there may have been one or two officers assigned to traffic safety on a temporary basis. 

Wenatchee School Resource officers will be under the chain of command as will parking enforcement. 

Crown said the grant is the only one of its kind from the Traffic Safety Commission and is partly the result of his experience as the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Traffic Safety Committee Chair. 

The grant covers traffic safety enforcement as well as engineering and education components. 

Crown said the unit will be in close contact with businesses that serve alcohol. 

"We're going to be doing things with our drinking establishments on the DUI side of this to make sure that those other entities that provide alcohol are actually not overserving," Crown said. "There's other options for getting home at night."  

He said the traffic safety unit will also be involved with providing public service announcements associated with drinking and driving. 

There's a higher percentage traffic safety issues in the region, and Crown said the Traffic Safety Commission appreciates efforts to address those issues, such as the Wenatchee's plan for a dedicated unit. 

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