Jun 27

June 2017

Posted on June 27, 2017 at 7:03 PM by Craig Johnson

This month in my article I would like to talk about some new changes in the laws effective July 1st, 2017.  The first one is Senate File 234 which is about distracted driving or texting and driving.  Senator Mike Breitbach was the floor manager for this bill which was long overdue.  Every year in the United States, 421,000 people are injured in some way that involves the driver being distracted.  1 out of 4 car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting while driving.  (Information from distracteddriveraccidents.com)

Starting July 1st, 2017, texting while driving in Iowa becomes a primary offense for law enforcement.  This means Law enforcement can pull you over if you are texting and driving.  This might not seem like a big deal, but the way the law reads it also spells out not only texting, but writing, sending, or even viewing an electronic device.  If you are driving down the road and just look at your phone, I pad, computer, or any type of electronic device, you are in violation.  The way I read the law if you are even taking a photo with your phone and driving you would be in violation.  If law enforcement see you looking at your phone we will pull you over just for that and you could be issued a citation under Iowa Code section 321.276 and be charged $100.50!  This includes court costs and surcharge fee. 

I’ve heard of a new phone coming out that automatically shuts your signal off when you get into your vehicle.  That may be the new technology wave coming and it is certainly safer.  Please put down your phone and don’t touch it while you are driving.   

The second item I would like to bring up is the new county ordinance on the UTV usage.  For the most part people have been obeying the law and acting appropriately.  However there have been a few incidents where I’ve been told that the UTVs are speeding, which is over 35 mph, driving down state highways (which is illegal), and kids with no helmets.  I support the new ordinance and don’t want to see a handful of violators ruin it for all of us.  Please make sure you have your updated registration, copy of insurance, tail lights and turn signals (not arm signals), and absolutely no ATVs.  RESPECT private property.  Come July 1st my officers and I will be making sure that people are obeying the new texting law and also enforcing the UTV ordinance stronger.

And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi

Jun 05

May 2017

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 6:50 PM by Craig Johnson

This month in my article I would like to touch base a little bit about the Mannequin Challenge.  I believe most of the local papers are doing their own article on this but the 5C Coalition (Clayton County Community Collaboration Council) spent the last three months putting together a Mannequin Challenge for Clayton County.  The 5C is a group of community members located in Clayton County working together to encourage awareness surrounding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that prevent community members from living their lives to the fullest.  Participants are from every community and town in our county. 

A mannequin challenge is viral Internet video trend where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera films them, usually with a song playing in the background.  The challenge also depicts a story and in the 5C video a story of underage kids drinking alcohol followed by a car wreck and fatality.  I encourage you all to please take a look at it.  It already has 852,000 hits on the 5C Facebook page and 32,000 hits on You Tube.  You can view this video at You Tube by searching;   “Party your life away mannequin challenge”  If you have questions or may be interested in the 5C program please look at their website at; www.claytoncountycccweebly.com

This week my department is participating in their annual spring firearms qualification.  We have a use of force policy in place at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.  All such training will include, but not be limited to, a review of our department policy on the use of deadly force, legal requirements, moral responsibilities of carrying a firearms and firearm safety.  In addition each member must demonstrate proficiency with any firearms to be used by that member before certification.  According to state code deputies must shoot 80% efficiency once a year.  This office offers a spring and fall qualification and training course to keep our officers efficient.  Firearms include their sidearm pistols, some shotguns, and rifles.  We do offer other yearly trainings for Taser, defensive tactics, chemical munitions, ASP etc.

And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi

         

Apr 30

April 2017

Posted on April 30, 2017 at 10:24 PM by Craig Johnson

This month in my article I would like to touch base on the new UTV ordinance the Board of Supervisors recently approved.  It seems that all the surrounding counties are following suit and allowing UTV units to operate on the county roadways.  The county ordinance has laid out rules you have to follow if you plan on riding your UTV on the roadways.  Please follow these rules.  I am a UTV rider and do not want to see people violating these rules and ruining it for the rest of us.  I saw this first hand last year in Allamakee County and other UTV drivers approached the ones misbehaving and spoke to them about it.  If you do not follow the rules we will be issuing you a citation.  There is currently one restricted area.  You cannot ride any UTV on the Clayton Rd. from the Garnavillo City limits to 232nd St. due to heavy truck traffic.  If you haven’t seen the ordinance, please review it which is posted on the County website www.claytoncountyia.gov  Ordinance #1-2017.  This is currently on the front of the web page.  If you have a problem with people on UTV’s please get the best description of the UTV and give us a call with your complaint.  We do have a UTV here and access to some others to assist in patrol if it is necessary.

          I was recently at a traffic accident assisting in directing traffic.  Our officers are trained on how to effectively, efficiently, and safely direct traffic at an accident scene.  We need to work in unison to ensure passing motorists and people at the scene are safe.  In order to do this we need your assistance. 

When approaching an accident you should pay attention to the closest officer near you and make eye contact, as we may be looking beyond you to see what other vehicles are approaching the scene.  Don’t proceed unless he motions you to do so.  The officer should be wearing an OSHA approved safety vest in bright colors.  Watch his posture and arm motions.  The officer may have a flashlight with an orange cone.  Try not to pay attention to the detail of what happened at the accident but keep alert in case a vehicle in front of you suddenly brakes. 

If you need to turn at that intersection please put on your turn signals ahead of time.  There is nothing more frustrating for us than planning on a vehicle coming forward and at the last minute they turn on their signal light for us.  Also if a turning lane is blocked, we may be motioning for you to turn in a different direction.  Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you can go the direction you want to.  If we could send you that way we would.  One last thing I would like to point out is speed.  Please slow down.  Some cars coming from a distance that see us motioning for them to go ahead, drive by us at a speed we would call unsafe and too fast.  Please pay attention and drive safe. 



And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.





Thanks and be safe,



Sheriff Mike Tschirgi