Officials with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol are saying an operation aimed at reducing collisions on state highways in Pontotoc and Garvin counties was a success.
Operation T.A.C.T. (Ticket Aggressive Cars and Trucks) was aimed at citing drivers who operate vehicles aggressively and violate the rules of the road, according to OHP Troop F Commander Ronnie Hampton.
In late May, Troop F announced the operation would be conducted in Garvin and Pontotoc counties during the month of June.
Hampton said there were no wrecks on U.S. or state highways in Pontotoc County from June 1 through June 28. He said there was one wreck on a state highway in Garvin County during the same period.
“I contribute this success to the general public for taking traffic safety serious, the media for getting the message out about Operation TACT and the troopers who came from all seven counties to help make these two counties safer,” Hampton said.
The focus of the operation was on rural state highways during times prone to traffic collisions.
Operation TACT sent every available trooper to the two counties during the week days, mostly during the morning and afternoon commute times. Garvin and Pontotoc counties have the highest rates of collisions in the Troop F patrol area, officials said.
Troopers issued over 300 citations and stopped more than 700 vehicles in both counties. Hampton said about 175 citations were issued in Pontotoc County. He said the operation led to multiple arrests, including one man arrested who had a warrant through the National Crime Information Center.
Hampton said the number of county road crashes remained about the same.
“We don’t have enough troopers in the entire troop to focus on county roads and state highways at the same time,” Hampton said.
Hampton said there will be future operations in Pontotoc County with some emphasizing county roads.
“Our strategy is kind of a crime reduction strategy that a police department would utilize and that is, once you gain ground, try and hold ground,” Hampton said.
“The way we plan on doing that is probably once a week, or at least three times a month at a time that won’t be announced. We will just have a lot of troopers working the same time, same roads in Pontotoc County. That way there is no pattern. One morning you may drive to work and see a lot of troopers on Highway 1, or a lot of troopers on Highway 3, or a lot of troopers on all the roads. So, from this point forward it will be kind of a surprise.”
Hampton said he currently studying wrecks which have occurred during a six-year period in each county on county roads.
“The way that county road emphasis will work will be in addition to what we’re already doing with Operation TACT, but I will take a trooper not from the Pontotoc County area and have him focus on the three major county roads where we see (the most) wrecks.”