Define the Issue
During our elicitation interviews, we found that participants didn’t believe law enforcement officers consistently or regularly enforced the child passenger safety law. We had no indication from citation data that the law was being enforced.
Interviews with the Chief of Police revealed, however, there was more to the story than “law enforcement failing to enforce the law.” He admitted that regular processing of citations wasn’t happening for a number of reasons despite an existing Tribal Child Passenger Safety Law. The Chief explained that once officers wrote citations, inadequate staffing in the courts resulted in lack of follow up and failure to process citations. Community members and tribal police were aware of this this, so no one viewed these citations as deterrents. Moreover, citation fees were only $35.00 – not an adequate disincentive for the community.
Identifying Your Approach
This issue requires a multi-pronged approach including Awareness and Public Health/Safety Practice. First, we need to determine the public/legal process for changing the fee schedule to create a citation fee that is a deterrent. Then, we need to evaluate the current citation practice and recommend changes that make it a meaningful deterrent and sustain staffing to administer the collection of the fines. Once the fee schedule is changed and the citation practice has been improved, efforts will be made to assure that officers and the general public are aware of these changes. We anticipate utilizing established community awareness techniques such as distributing pamphlets and other materials to community members during routine traffic stops or interaction with drivers in the community (e.g. grocery parking lot); submitting announcement in the community newspaper; posting announcement on Tribes website and social media site. Finally, we will train Tribal Police on these changes.
Our budget is based on experience hosting similar discussion sessions and trainings. For these trainings, we budgeted for 8 officers, 1 trainer, 1 Police Chief in attendance. We estimate 700 swag bags ($1.00/bag). Each officer will be given 50 bags for their cars. Swag bags will have items that officers can distribute when stopping drivers or during any outing where they see a child getting in their car seat. Finally, we allocated $3,000 for media costs including print (flyers, billboards) and radio spots.