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Thursday, November 11, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 58

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Houston police step up inspection of commercial trucks 

By Audrey Warren
Senior Staff Writer 

Houston police officers are taking steps to inspect and correct problems with large commercial trucks on local roads, Houston Police Chief C. O. Bradford said.

At a Wednesday press conference, Bradford said the HPD's truck squad has been effective in acting on truck violations. Officers on the squad worked with Department of Public Safety personnel in training that certifies them to perform inspections.

For Level I inspections, officers do not need probable cause to pull over a vehicle. The inspections take about 45 minutes and involve detailed inspection of the vehicles. Level II inspections require an officer to have probable cause before pulling trucks over, but they only take about 15 minutes.

During HPD's Level I inspections from Oct. 18-25, Bradford said 41 drivers were arrested, 272 trucks were taken out of service and 965 citations and 2,899 warnings were issued.

He said trucks were most often taken off the road due to improperly secured loads and brake violations, and drivers were most often arrested based on traffic violations and suspended drivers' licenses.

The effort to inspect the trucks comes amid increased attention to truck-related accidents.

"The objective is to get violations corrected and get trucks off the road," Bradford said. "When people say that the Houston Police Department is not handling the truck problem they are just wrong."

Bradford also addressed potential "Y2K" troubles, saying he does not expect large problems, but that New Year's Eve could put a strain on police.

"We are trying to (get) finalized from an operational standpoint ... but I feel reasonably comfortable that there will be no huge facilities failures," Bradford said.

He said he does anticipate possible crowd-control problems and increased vehicular traffic, particularly in areas around Compaq Center and the Richmond strip.

Bradford also said Houston officials can watch what happens in other time zones prior to midnight local time.

In addition, Bradford praised a federal grant that will allow HPD to purchase new bulletproof vests for its officers. The $126,000 grant from the Office of Justice Programs and the Bureau of Justice Assistance represents 50 percent of what the department will spend on the vests.

"I am glad to see the federal government step forward and allow agencies to get this money," Bradford said. 


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