By Mark E. Vogler
Retiring Saugus Police Chief Domenic DiMella says he sees glaring problems the town needs to address in order to improve road safety
“We need more signage. And we also need to have increased traffic stops within the town,” DiMella said in an interview this week.
“I’m sure the next person who takes over for me will get this done with the manager and the Board of Selectmen. More signage. Like Melrose has. Get those signs up there,” DiMella said.
“But, that’s hard to do when you answer 22,000 calls for service a year. And everybody is on a sector answering calls. We don’t really have that dedicated car to do it,” DiMella said.
“We have directed patrols during the day where we can put somebody for an hour. But we don’t have the manpower where we can have a traffic unit set up in a place for a day or a week and send a message that if you speed through this area you are going to be cited,” he said.
How bad is it now?
“Number one, there’s a lot more cars on the road now than when I started,” DiMella said.
What about accidents involving pedestrians, particularly the one that involved a man and wife being knocked down in a cross walk earlier this year?
“That’s something that all of the signage and all of the traffic stops in the world aren’t going to be able to take care of, because if you have someone who is impaired in any way, it’s going to happen, no matter what,” Chief DiMella said.
“No matter how much signage you have, unless we are lucky enough to stop that vehicle prior to anything happening and locking him or her up for being impaired and not being able to see properly. Whatever reason, no matter how much enforcement you have, sometimes things are going to happen — if you have somebody who is impaired and does not care about the safety of the public. That’s just something that you have to deal with,” he said.
What are the toughest spots?
“Obviously, Central Street. The main roads. We’ve had an issue on Essex Street and Main Street and Central Street,” he said.
“My recommendations for improvements: the signage and the electronic boards and hopefully, more enforcement,” he said.