The Wilton Police Department is reported to have the highest ratio of traffic stops per population, according to a report this month from the Connecticut Racial Profiling Project.
Wilton logged 6,020 stops during the study’s time period, Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016 — the most of any town, according to the report.
The report indicated Wilton’s enforcement is fairly spread among the “individual” categories, such as speeding, registration and cell phone violations.
Additionally, Wilton fairly distributes enforcement action by way of infractions, written warnings, verbal warnings, and arrests, and shows low numbers relative to vehicle searches.
The Wilton Police Department has not received any complaints of “profiling” or “targeted” traffic stops and randomly conducts routine reviews, said Chief John Lynch.
“The Wilton Police Department is committed to fair, impartial, and transparent policing. The department is also committed to the safety of our community. That is to be safe on our roads and free of crime,” Lynch said in a statement.
One method the department utilizes to accomplish these goals is “proactive high-visibility traffic enforcement,” said Lynch, who said it serves several purposes.
“It curtails dangerous driving behaviors and provides visibility in our community that detects and deters criminal activity,” he said.
Wilton is unique in that Route 7 is the main connection to the cities of Danbury and Norwalk and a link to interstate highways 84 and 95, Lynch said.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation reports the average traffic count on Route 7 is 30,000 vehicles per day at the Norwalk town line and 20,000 at the Ridgefield town line.
Lynch said the volume of vehicles requires a strong enforcement initiative, which includes parallel roadways used to bypass Route 7, and the police department addresses “known problem areas and others as a result of specific traffic complaints.”
Lynch added that the number of traffic stops varies depending on available manpower and traffic safety enforcement incentives.
“We are proactive with cell phone, seat belt and DUI enforcement. We take advantage of these incentives, most of which are reimbursed through the state grant process,” he said.
“In my 32 years of experience, the Wilton Police Department has been consistently proactive in the area of motor vehicle enforcement, which we believe results in a lower crime rate.”