Pullovers on the rise in Wilton

The town is called Wilton, but people driving through may call it Will Pull You Over-ton.

The number of motor vehicle pullovers by police grew to 6,052 in 2016, up from 4,936 in 2015, according to data at the department.

“Part of that was in 2016 we had more officers,” said Lt. Robert Cipolla, spokesman for the department. And part of that was because in 2016 the department used a grant from the state for selective enforcement of people who talk or text on a cell phone while driving.

Data shows that during the month of August 2016, when the grant money was spent on police overtime, there were 914 selective enforcement stops, up from 592 in 2015. The state-administered federal grant paid overtime for officers to perform extra duty watching for cell phone violators.

A new wave of cracking down on distracted driving — through a second selective enforcement grant which totals $20,000 for overtime — is underway.

There were 5,138 general traffic stops made in 2016 compared to 4,936 the previous year, Cipolla said. Details on the types of infractions were not available.

The enforcement is working, according to First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice. She told the Board of Selectmen earlier this year that her friends from out of town know to be careful driving through Wilton.

“They know they can be pulled over in Wilton,” she said.