Speeders, beware. The Town of Clifton is getting a full-time police officer and, if you keep speeding through Clifton, there'll be a price to pay.
When police and VDOT traffic counts revealed that 10,543 vehicles travel through the tiny town of Clifton each weekday — many of them speeding — Mayor Jim Chesley took action.
Besides seeking various traffic-calming measures, which are still in the works, he also spoke with Supervisor Elaine McConnell (R-Springfield) and Board of Supervisors Chairman Katherine K. "Kate" Hanley (D) about the possibility of Clifton getting its own police officer to help deal with the traffic.
And during Monday's budget mark-up session, McConnell got her fellow supervisors to agree to permanent funding for a police officer for Clifton. The money will pay for his salary and benefits, beginning July 1, and will be part of the county budget to be adopted next Monday, April 29. The officer won't be pulled away from any other duties; instead, he'll be working overtime.
Although the town only has 225 residents, it's continually clogged with cut-through commuters from Prince William County, and Clifton residents complain that they can't cross their streets safely or even get out of their driveways, during the weekdays. The new officer will work six hours a day, five days a week, spending three hours in Clifton during the morning rush and another three hours during the evening rush. The duties may even be divided between two officers.
"I feel especially good about it," said Chesley. "We've worked hard in the past couple months, trying to figure out how we could do this. Elaine got the dollars, and Kate supported it all the way. It's the responsible thing to do for everyone's health and safety. It shows that the county and town can work well together to accomplish something and, hopefully, it'll help with our speeding problem."
McConnell, too, was pleased that Clifton will finally get a police officer. "It was badly needed for a long time, and I'm glad the Board supported me on this," she said. "Clifton has a serious problem. Commuter traffic is dangerous to everyone there — drivers go too fast on those curves and narrow roads. We'd like to keep it a nice, historic town and slow down all that traffic. We also recognize that it's the home of a lot of children, and we want them to be safe."
Chesley noted, as well, all the supportive e-mails sent by people living in and around Clifton to Hanley, McConnell and Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D-Braddock), who heads the Board's finance committee. Said Chesley: "I want to thank them all because, without their help, we couldn't have gotten it done."