OAKLAND (KPIX) – More officers will be patrolling the streets of Oakland to stop sideshow activity, thanks to a $500,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The goal was to make the roads safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians by putting more officers out on the streets as part of a special Traffic Enforcement Task Force. It is a joint effort between the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol and Oakland police.

“You’ve got people running red lights, running stop signs, excessive speeding. Speeds up to 100 miles per hour,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriffs Department.

Friday night was the first evening the more than 30 officers of the Task Force were out on the streets. The officers arrested 17 people for drunk driving, 3 others for various other crimes, towed 14 cars, and got in 3 pursuits.

“Anytime you can take drunk drivers, reckless drivers, off the street, you’re stopping any future potential danger,” said Kelly.

Another major focus of the enforcement task force will be to stop sideshows, which have plagued Oakland for years.

“We know that there is a criminal element associated with the sideshow activity, some of the reckless driving,” said Kelly. “So when we do enforcement, often times we come across weapons, drugs.”

He said getting the drugs and guns off the streets make the community, as a whole, safer.

“Everybody’s had enough of this and so it’s time to send that zero tolerance message, and so we’ll be out there,” said Kelly.
 
The $500,000 grant will pay for the Task Force to set up 24 enforcement nights over the next calendar year. If the program continues to be successful, Sgt. Kelly said he expects to receive more grant money from the state.

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