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WaldoPDWaldo Police Officer Tim Logan checks speeds of passing vehicles along State Road 24 Tuesday morning.  The department recently won $44,000 to spend on new equipment.

The Waldo Police Department (WPD) was a big winner in the latest ‘Click it or Ticket’ challenge, taking home points totaling $44,000 to be used toward equipment.

In a recent awards ceremony in Orlando, WPD was recognized for its efforts in traffic safety.  The small department, with just five officers, took first place in the Championship class. Hallandale Beach took second place and Biscayne Park went home with third.

WPD Chief Mike Szabo said the winnings are important in providing equipment for his department.  With a budget of about $480,000, a $44,000 influx of funds for equipment has a significant impact.

“The types of equipment we buy with these points is the kind of stuff a small department like ours couldn’t afford,” he said.  “We were able to buy a roadside message board with points won in the previous campaign.”

With the $44,000 WPD will be able to spend this year, Szabo said he plans to purchase a lighted directional sign, additional in-car video cameras, portable breath test machines, flashlights, emergency lights and more.

“We try to buy equipment that will help us alert motorists to speed zone changes and school zones,” said Szabo.  “Unfortunately, too many drivers are distracted and aren’t paying attention to the roadway.”

Although Waldo has a reputation as strictly enforcing the speed limits, Szabo said his department is often mischaracterized.  AAA Auto Club South has labeled Waldo as a speed trap and has even purchased billboards to warn motorists as they enter the city.

“People are going from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and they aren’t necessarily aware of their surroundings,” said Szabo.  “What we’ve tried to do is to alert motorists about speed changes by placing visual stimulants and warnings that the State wouldn’t.”

“If this were about money, we could sit outside and write tickets all day long for people traveling 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, but we’re not doing that,” Szabo said, adding that his officers don’t generally write more than a dozen tickets in a 12-hour shift.

Whether some motorists like it or not, Szabo said his department would continue participating in campaigns like ‘Click it or Ticket.’  “Statistics show that a strong law enforcement presence in a community deters crimes of all types,” said Szabo.