“Ask The Chief” allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

Submit your question to askthe.policechief@ci.red-wing.mn.us

Q: I come to work into Red Wing from Wisconsin. I am constantly being followed too closely, or having vehicles “dart quickly” around drivers who are going the speed limit. They then speed up and drive in the left lane, travelling at least 40 in a 30 and 50 in a 40 and so on. What can you do and what will you do to get this issue more under control?

A: Thank you. Traffic safety is a concern for all law enforcement agencies, and at a minimum, the law requires motorists to operate their vehicles with “due care.”

The Red Wing Police Department provides traffic and criminal law enforcement for the jurisdiction of Red Wing, which covers 42 square miles. Within the city limits of Red Wing, Highway 61 begins at the East End of our community near Cemstone Aggregate and Ready Mix (east of the Minnesota Correctional Facility) and proceeds west to County Road 18 (road leading to Treasure Island Resort & Casino).

This combined with other traffic concern areas makes it impossible to everywhere at once, so we try to prioritize and identify primary areas of concern (locations with high crash rates, along with other areas that pose a high risk to our community).

We also have citizens that observe reckless drivers that will call us (hands-free) and provide vehicle description, license number, direction of travel and driving conduct. Officers then respond to the area and observe the driving behavior to determine if there is reason for a traffic stop.

Most traffic violations are petty misdemeanors, therefore officers must either witness the offense or have probable cause that an offense was committed and the person identified committed the offense. This may consist of a video that identifies the driving behavior, driver description, license number, location (to ensure occurs in our jurisdiction) and date and time of offense.

The Red Wing Police Department also practices other traffic safety best practices. This may involve the following:

  • saturation patrols (identified areas of concern, that officers are instructed to patrol or monitor as often as possible, and calls for service permitting).

  • Utilization of traffic control squads (these are unmarked vehicles that can make up 10% of a departments total fleet and are identified by a badge or logo on the right passenger door only).

  • Investigators and command staff may also conduct traffic stop when they observe an obvious violation of the law, while operating their unmarked squad cars.

  • Toward Zero Death saturation patrols rotate throughout the county and rotate through Red Wing annually. You will recognize a TZD saturation patrol, by the variety of law enforcement vehicles performing traffic stops in our community.

A good example is a Cannon Falls or Zumbrota Police vehicle making a traffic stop in Red Wing, the saturation patrol will be made up of a variety of county law enforcement.

  • Lastly, you may also see out “speed enforcement” trailer on the side of the road to help indicate vehicle speeds and seek voluntary compliance with our traffic laws.

Thank you again for your question, and please feel free to contact us at the non-emergency number, 651-385-3155, with any traffic concerns or recommendations for saturation patrol efforts. Traffic safety remains a concern and we value our community collaborations as they allow us to respond effectively to events while they are occurring. Most effective traffic safety and crime prevention programs are initiated by citizens acting as the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

References and resources

1. Minnesota Statute 169.14, Speed Limits, Zones and Radar, located online at www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/2019/cite/169.14.