Police Chief Rob Lawson: Police Could Easily Issue 1,000 Tickets A Day

chief_lawson_tlsEXCLUSIVE: Bad driving habits is no secret in Lakewood, the busy town home to nearly 100,000 residents. There are numerous accidents in town each day, and even more traffic infractions – but not by that many. Chances are, either you or someone you know has received at least one summons in town, but it could be worse. Much worse.

“Officers could easily issue 1,000 summons a day in Lakewood”, Police Chief Rob Lawson tells TLS. “If you were to pull up a chair in downtown, you would see the numerous motor vehicle violations”, says the Chief.

The most common infractions are cell phone and parking issues, the Chief says.

“The cell phone issues is widespread and is probably the cause to many motor vehicle accidents”, Lawson says.

Looking through one day’s stats from this past week, there were 18 motor vehicle accidents in Lakewood, but that’s not unusual.

“On any given day, there could be up to 20 accidents”, Lawson says, “and that’s without hazardous road conditions such as snow”.

Getting back to the summons issue, that day’s stats showed police issued a total of 25 summonses throughout the morning, evening and midnight shifts, Lawson says. About half of those were issued to the Orthodox community. But that number says the Chief, pales in comparison to what the officers could issue, based on the amount of violations that take place on a daily basis.

“Any officer could easily use two to three booklets per day”, which is a total of 30 tickets, “But we have minimum manpower – and they’re running from call to call”, Lawson says.

Again comparing that one day, a ‘regular’ day, Lawson says police were dealing with various other serious issues, including DWIs, Domestic Violence, missing persons, attempted suicide and many other calls the police deal with on a regular basis.

The low number of summonses issued though are a direct result of the community-mindedness of the cops as well as the instructions from the Chief.

“I encourage the officers to issue warnings”, says the Chief, “especially for non-hazardous violations”. Additionally, “most officers are community minded, and understanding”.

There are some however who complain, Lawson says, that the police are being too tough on summonses and should rather focus their efforts on gang-activity and other similar activity which plagues the town.

“People are much more at risk from being injured from motor vehicle incidents, than they are from gang-activity”, says the Chief. TLS.

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  1. This morning i saw through my rear view mirror a women stroking her hair with one hand and holding her cell phone to the other ear while driving. (COOL – no hands on the wheel). I was afraid she would smash into me as i was the car in front of her and she was busy . When we got to an intersection (and i was then in the turning lane ) she pulled up next to me. I motioned to her to get an ear piece. She went back onto the phone as if nothing was wrong..

  2. the chief is 1 zillion percent right

    I too got a ticket for rolling thru a stop sign

    first i was very upset

    I was upset at the cop

    I wanted to call the chief,the askanim,the mayor etc.

    but who’s fault was it?

    mine and my bad driving habits

    the ticket cost me 80 something dollars

    and 2 points

    now i heed every single stop sign full stop

    driving in lakewood is pretty bad

    but its not vicious like in brooklyn

    people don’t honk when you attempt to park

    here are a few suggestions

    from a plain driver

    #1 hang up the phone hang up right now.

    #2 realize that a second too late is not the end of the world
    slow down,obey all speed limits

    #3 if you see kids playing slowwwwwwwwwww down

    #4 hitching should be illegal parents we need your help tell your sons the dangers of hitching

    #5 a wall of cones or safety sticks should be erected on forest avenue
    especially from 6th to 4th street the U-turns are crazy

    #6 ok now here we need help from the pedestrians

    #7when heading out of town give yourself double time

    #8 familiarize yourself with alternate routes that avoid route 9

    #9 seatbelts

    #10 smile and enjoy our pretty town

  3. This past Saturday, I sat on my deck observing the traffic at the stop sign outside my home.

    I would like to share some of my observations:

    -Every car saw the stop sign at the corner.
    -Every car SLOWED down as they reached it.
    -ONE out of every TWENTY FIVE cars actually made a FULL STOP!

    Oh…Did I mention there was a “STOP” sign there?

    PS Remember, this happened on a Saturday, when there is MUCH LESS traffic.

    STOP Sign

    COLOR: Red, with white letters.

    Stop sign MEANING: Come to a full stop, yield the right-of-way to vehicles and pedestrians in or approaching the intersection. Go when it is safe. You must come to a stop before the stop line, if there is one. If not, you must stop before entering the crosswalk. (See “Stop and Crosswalk Lines” under the “Pavement Markings” section of this chapter.) If there is no stop line or crosswalk, you must stop before entering the intersection, at the point nearest the intersection that gives you a view of traffic on the intersecting roadway.

    YIELD Sign

    COLOR: Red and white, with red letters.

    Yield sign MEANING: Slow down as you approach the intersection. Prepare to stop and yield the right-of-way to vehicles and pedestrians in or approaching the intersection. You must come to a full stop at a YIELD sign if traffic conditions require it. When you approach a YIELD sign, check carefully for traffic, and be prepared to stop.

  4. I’ve lived here for almost 40 years and never got a ticket or got stopped for any violation. And come to think of it, I hardly know of any friends or relatives who live or lived here who got tickets. I must run around with a very boring gang. But we do see how people drive in this town and we just shake our heads!!!!!

  5. Issue those tickets, there have too many accidents and people hurt and worse. If you don’t obey the law, get ticketed, it will decrease the problems. It will also increase revenues and allow for more cops on the streets. Now I don’t mean not waiting the full 3 seconds at a stop sign, I am talking about speeding, cell phone use, yellow/red lights, illegal parking etc… It will save lives and make Lakewood a better place.

  6. Why doesn’t the chief mention the new law to stop for people in the cross walk??

    99.9% just ignores it including the cops!

    I could sometimes wait in the crosswalk for a long time and finelly seeing a police car and hoping he will enforce the law and i will be able to finelly cross… And to my shock… He just passes like anyone else

  7. Lived in this town for many years and have never been stopped or given a ticket for any reason. Start giving out tickets for cell phone use. Have a phone don’t use it while driving.

  8. Its regular sakanas nefoshos,sloooooowwwwww down,so ull get there 2 min later. I heard beshaim R’ Moshe zatzal that every time you walk out of a car alive,you use up zechusim,meaning you put your life in danger every time you step into a car,so now think for a sec. in this town how much zechusim were giving up with the crazy driving.”hachocham eiynav brosho”.

  9. “I encourage the officers to issue warnings” “most officers are community minded, and understanding”.

    what does that have to do with traffic laws, and issuing summonses and officers doing their jobs?
    i didnt know lakewood has a group of people belonging to an organization or faith or beliefs that holds them less accountable to laws….. (of wait)

  10. Herschel will fire the chief and then no one will get any tickets whie they zoom there way to the new townhouse built where the blueclaws used to be

  11. If it was any other town, the tickets would be issued. STOP breaking the law and you won’t ahve to worry about getting a ticket. I completely agree….
    Break the law, get a ticket! NO exceptions

  12. I think the cops should give out the tickets and let the guilty say their sorry to the officer for wasting his time having to give the ticket in the first place when the officer could be out fighting crime in this town. And then the guilty should ask forgiveness from G-D for breaking the law. No first the guilty should ask forgiveness from G-D.

  13. I live in Lakewood; however, will NEVER drive through town, aways go around it. It’s bad enough in our developments. Also, I have been here a long time and have never received a ticket. I follow the laws. I don’t want your problem to be mine. I need my vehicle; don’t need it smashed up because some people cannot follow simple procedures that are for all, not some. Give more tickets; this town could use the extra cash.

  14. It should be abolished.

    But definitely people need to start driving more carefully.

    It is important that the police temper the ticket writing (like they are) to maintain a good relationship with the people.

  15. Any implication that “Lakewood” drivers are any worse than any where els in NJ is anti semitisem. There is absolutely no scientific proof. To the contrary, there are fewer DWI in our community. I am sick of all the hate.

  16. I think cellphones and signal laws need to be enforced , its ridiculous people just make rights and lefts from any part of the lane without notifying anyone else which is dangerous. Another thing by clifton and east Kennedy the lanes are not marked at all and no one knows if its a right turning lane or a left one, so what happens is hat both people go straight which can cause an accident …

  17. the lakewood roads were the finest in the county back in 1965, unfortunately, time has moved on and few of lakewoods roads have kept up with the time. we are a community overburdened with people and cars.

  18. I was driving down Sunset towards Central……. All of the sudden the first car in line waiting by the red light decides to make a LEFT turn on red!
    There was a minivan coming down Central that came within 3 feet of this car and swerved around him! The guy is lucky to be alive.

  19. #20- no scientific proof? Ask the chief for the records. Compare them to Toms River, Brick, Jackson, Howell, wherever you want, and you will see how much more dangerous it is to drive thru Lakewood. This isn’t antisemetic.

    That being said, I think a much higher percentage of the population in Lakewood expects to get away with just a warning, and either ignore or don’t know what the rules of the road are. That is dangerous.

    I hope the next message from the chief is that he will ask the LPD to write tickets when needed- since now he’s given a warning to everyone.

  20. (i was waiting for comments like this)
    TO #20
    you wrote: “Any implication that “Lakewood” drivers are any worse than any where els in NJ is anti semitisem.”

    i know this might come as a shock to you; but LAKEWOOD ISNT JEWISH! NOR DOES IT BELONG TO JEWISH PEOPLE OR ISRAEL. THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE THAT LIVE AND DRIVE LIKE IDIOTS IN LAKEWOOD, ASIDE FROM JUST JEWISH PEOPLE!! – so how can pointing out traffic statistics(you know, that stuff collected at the end of every period) be antisemitic?

  21. Quote “Stop using anti-semetism as an excuse. Follow the laws and this won’t be an issue”
    I agree every time there is an issue with obeying the law there are those who would imply that is the reason , well if you do not speed ,run red lights & stop signs, talk on the cell phone no matter who you are you wont get a ticket it just that simple

  22. To #20: are you on some kind of medication. Look it up. How many people have been killed in your town just crossing the street. What about that little girl on her bike. And the list goes on and on. And look at all the cars throughout town: dents, kids bouncing around without seatbelts; talking on cell phones; stopping wherever you feel like, and not stopping when that’s the law. Lakewood is not that big, and it does have the worst record. Again, don’t trust me, look it up. It is the worst.

  23. my fingers were itching to respond to the overused complaint of “anti semitisem” but i couldnt have said it better than you! i love your posts and your blunt, honest way of saying them; keep up the good work! 🙂

  24. #31; at least you have fingers that were itching…..

    ….some people obviously have itchy donkey hooves. EEEhaaaw.

  25. The rapid growth of Lakewood’s population plus the fact that every family has at least one & mostly 2 cars is a big problem since the town’s infrastructure is not keeping pace with the explosive growth. Where is all the tax money from the new developments going to anyway? Why don’t they build better roads, fix the potholes & add lights where necessary? Drivers, it would help if you use signals & let other drivers know your intentions. I have seen many miracles in this town (and I only live here for 5 years) but we cannot rely on miracles all the time.

  26. KS Post #20 You play the hate, anti semitisem card way too often. It has become ineffective, not relevant and unbelieveable. You are like the boy who cried wolf.

  27. I have seen driving all around the country. Lakewood (and its NY transplants) needs to be forced to obey traffic laws or have driving privliges suspended. Caught talking on a cell phone? No more license. Nothing to do with anti semitism, everything to do with safety. Please don’t moderate this comment out.

  28. It is about time that this issue hit the scoop. From what I gather, all residents are fed up with the lunatic fringe that is a safety hazard to all of us. LPD needs to step up traffic enforcement now. No more warnings. When you hit bad drivers in the pocketbook, it has a very positive effect on their driving habits.

    The traffic in Lakewood is deplorable, exasperated by some drivers that have no concern for their personal safety or for the safety of others.

    Residents need to pledge that themselves and their family members will make an all out effort to drive more safely and observe the traffic regulations. Think of the misery caused to others by carelessness. For every person killed or injured, where it could have been avoided by driving safely, there should be no peace or forgiveness.

    Do not be the one always in a hurry. Be the one that drives with caution, courtesy, and consideration for others.

    At the same time, LPD needs to have a zero tolerance for those that violate traffic regulations. Self control is the carrot and a ticket is the stick to help residents improve their driving.

  29. Slow down, stay off the cellphone, obey traffic regulations, and respect other drivers. Do this and all will be better off. Do not do this, and we all will pay the penalty. The cost of insurance will continue to rise and the accidents will continue to inflict pain and suffering on others.

    LPD needs to be aggressive handing out tickets for violations. No nore warnings.

  30. Hire Auxillary cops, no weapons, limited authority, with the ability to write tickets. If in fact there are 1,000 tickets a day, and I believe there are, that can be significant revenue for the town.

    Since we are on this topic…..

    People in this town routinely drive on the shoulder if the car in front of them is waiting to turn left. THIS IS AGAINST THE LAW and you can get 4 points on your license. DO NOT drive or pass on the shoulder!!!!!!

    The shoulder is for pedestrians, cyclists, disable vehicles and emergency vehicles.


    DO NOT PASS OR DRIVE on the shoulder under ANY circumstance, unless the above applies to you.

  31. OK
    so why do some of my comments stay in moderation for excesssive time ????????
    Anonymous says: says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    June 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm
    Quote “Stop using anti-semetism as an excuse. Follow the laws and this won’t be an issue”
    I agree every time there is an issue with obeying the law there are those who would imply that is the reason , well if you do not speed ,run red lights & stop signs, talk on the cell phone no matter who you are you wont get a ticket it just that simple

  32. To 14
    Mr. Conservative says:
    June 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    (refer to my post above – 6)

    I dont know why people get so negative about the jews people. I made my observations (above #6) on a Saturday. I think mostly jews people dont drive on that day. That means that it was us gentiles ‘rolling through em stop signs’!!!

    I know the driving stinks in this town. But this past Saturday I realized that all peoples here drive bad. no matter what race they from.

  33. this town needs public transit newark nj population 220 thousand people has buses galore light rail a subway line and nj transit trains lakewood has nothing zero nada zilch

  34. Why is my comment waiting “moderation”? Why is it always a problem on this site to tell the truth? What are you hiding?

  35. i cant believe what im seeing here , everybody pro the cops and tickets , are you serious ? open your eyes the cops are just roaming the streets watching waiting oh maybe hell make a mistake let me follow him im sure in afew blocks hell probably go out of the lines for a second .most of them have no manners are nasty when they give you a ticket ungrateful that you gave them something to do .just last week i got two tickets for parking in the fire lane in front of the dorm on private way , two different nights at 12:30 am ,the parking lots empty nobody even parked on the other side ,i parked for maybe two minutes to call somebody out ,and the cops already there ,two different cops both nasty and bored , you would think theres no crime in town so we hire cops just to make sure we dont park for two min in a fire lane in yeshiva parking lot at 12:30 in the morning ,everybody should stop glorifying the cops and we should cut the police force in half , no pension

  36. Many ppl do drive safely… Thank you to those that do.

    “We are afraid to drive in Lakewood” – exact quote from a few of them!

    I had to stand up for Lakewood and explain to them that most people here are nice and calm and not crazy and that unfortunately there are some people from all societies that need to be reminded of the dangers of road infractions. It took lots of convincing but I finally got them to agree with me that Jews in Lakewood really are overall nice and not rude!

    But we all agreed that there needs to be some sort of reinforcement and reminder to those that are rushing or just want to be ahead of the game and “cool” that all of our lives are being put on the line. One professor said her son drives a truck and has to go through route 9 and has too many close calls of cars CUTTING in front of him and almost killing themselves and him and he is literally afraid to come down this route!!
    Do you know how embarrassing it is for me to have to defend us like that??? Please…. save all our lives and make a kiddush Hashem. Its worth it in the end!!!!

    Thank you Chiei Lawson for trying to keep us safe!

  37. Yo, man! Take it e-e-e-e-z-z-z-z-z

    Are you people nuts?

    FACT: Lakewood has lots of Jews.

    FACT: MOST drivers in Lakewood are Jews.

    FACT: Read my observation above. (#6)

    FACT: The bad driving habits occur SEVEN days a week…

    FACT: Jews dosnt drive Saturday. (I seen it mahself)

  38. The root of the problem is that people here in Lakewood have very hectic schedules- prayers, daycare, yeshiva seder, back to daycare, grocery, back to seder etc.- these are all time sensitive- not to mention that a majority of us are New York drivers.

  39. Lakewood needs more stop signs. And I don’t care what you think about it. Crossing some intersections around here are fatal! Crossing in the car when there are other cars parked on the sides and there are cars flying in both directions and you can’t see, is so dangerous. And inching is too! Even if ppl won’t come to acomplete stop, atleast htey will slow down and maybe give another car a turn. This would do wonders on pine, and on all those streets, monmouth, lexington, forest. I don’t know why there aren’t any. Do people need to get places so quickly that safety should take a backseat? I think the township has some achrayis here in making sure less accidents happen. Also I think the speed limit should go down on many side streets. Flying 60 mph where thre are no stop signs and there are pedestrians is asking for accidents to happen. And what does understanding a community have to do with giving less tickets? I’m quite unimpressed. I hate getting tickets but I know it would keep me in check and my family safe if I was that much more scared.

  40. well said Bill Hobday !
    listen people the police are not the problem the bad drivers are, if anything we need more police to issue more tickets to those wirth no concern to others by driving recklessly

  41. You tight schedules and time restrictions is nothing but an excuse. Those excuses are what causes accidents and puts peoples lives at stake. If you can’t obey the driving laws, don’t drive. Take your time, be a few minutes late because one day, you may never make it home (or someone else may not). The Frum community is not the only one who has hectic schedules without making excuses.

  42. We all need to slow down and get off the phones while driving especially in a town with so many people. Better to be a minute late, than dead! As a community we all have to do our part to keep everyone safe!!!!

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