Police put brakes on red light runners along Florida Avenue

Tuesday was a rare day in Hemet, at least rare for these days.

All five of the Hemet Police Department’s motorcycles were on the street in an effort to reduce the instances of red light running, primarily along Florida Avenue, but at other locations as well.

Lt. Duane Wisehart, who heads the traffic division, which was virtually eliminated through budget cuts, said the officers issued 45 citations, 27 of them for running red lights and 17 for such violations as speeding and talking on cell phones while driving.

Chief Richard Dana recalled four other traffic officers to motorcycle duty, Dan Reinbolt, Nate Miller, Jim Waters, and Gabe Gomez, for the day.

Dana, who joined the officers for a time to survey the results of their work, said the presence of the motorcycles had done more than generate citations.

“Along Florida Avenue, no one was speeding. People were stopping for lights,” he said. “And we had no accidents.”

Safety was, in fact, the issue, not revenue for the cash-strapped city.

Capt. Rob Webb said that, while the citation for running a red light could cost several hundred dollars once all the court costs and fees were totaled up, the city gets only about 13 percent of that.

“Traffic enforcement is expensive,” Webb said.

But it produces a safer environment on the streets, said Dana, and that is the point.

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