Police will patrol railroads June 2
Police officers from Farmington and Rosemount and deputies from the Dakota County Sheriff's office will team up June 2 to crack down on people who don't follow the rules around railroad tracks. The three departments will cooperate in a saturation effort aimed at people who drive around railroad stop arms or trespass along the tracks. The effort is organized by Operation Lifesaver, an international non-profit group established in 1972 to improve safety along railroad tracks.
Dakota County sheriff's sergeant Patrick Enderlein organized the local effort, which will include three to three-and-a-half hours of saturation enforcement. Enderlein said a law enforcement officer will likely ride on trains that pass through during that time and radio information about violators to patrol officers waiting near major crossings.
According to Operation Lifesaver there were 39 collisions at railroad crossings last year in Minnesota. There were six fatalities and 14 injuries. There were also nine fatalities and five injuries related to trespassing on railroad property.
Enderlein said the focus will be on people in cars.
"The majority we wee are the vehicle offenders," Enderlein said. "I know we get some calls -- Farmington had some students walking along the tracks, which caused a problem. They had to stop the trains."
Farmington police have conducted their own enforcement efforts along the railroad tracks through town in recent years, ticketing people they see crossing the tracks at spots other than designated crossings.
Enderlein said the June 2 saturation enforcment is the only organized effort planned for the immediate future but he expects there will be more down the line.