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Chief Suggests Traffic Fines
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Police Chief Bill Pooley has proposed a new method of handling traffic enforcement by bringing violations and fines under the Riverbank Municipal Code instead of the California Vehicle Code.

"It's a different style of traffic enforcement," he said. "Currently, if someone runs a red light, for instance, we issue a CVC violation and it goes through the courts, and the fine gets divided up. But if we issued a simple traffic citation for something like $200, we could process it in house and get 100 percent of the fines instead of only 25 to 30 percent."

The Municipal Code could handle first time, lesser offenses such as running a red light, failure to make a complete stop, turning violations and speeding while still leaving the more serious cases such as driving under the influence and reckless driving under the CVC.

One benefit for the city is that all the fines would come back to the city instead of being divided up between the city, the county, the state and the courts. This way, Pooley predicted, the city could bring in an average of $80,000 to $100,000 a year.

Another advantage, he argued, is that it "would give citizens a break." The fines would be smaller and citizens would have the chance to appeal the police officer's and the chief's decision to a local hearing officer.

The ordinance will be formally presented and receive a first reading at the Riverbank City Council's next meeting on May 11.

Pooley noted this is not a new idea. It was a very common way for small municipalities to handle traffic enforcement in the 1940s and 1950s. Newman is working on a similar idea. Roseville started such a system and then put it on hold for a while. Riverbank could be the first in the San Joaquin Valley to bring it back.