shelby township plainclothes cop

(Photo: Shelby Township Police)

Operation Ghostrider Issued Nearly 300 Tickets In 12-Hour Span Last Month

The operation aims to crack down on distracted driving.

May 23, 2019 - 8:27 pm

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WWJ) -- A crackdown on distracted driving in Oakland and Macomb Counties led to nearly 300 tickets issued in a 12-hour period in late April.

Law enforcement agencies across metro Detroit announced the continuation of Operation Ghostrider in April, with plainclothes officers driving around in unmarked vehicles, looking for people breaking the law by texting while driving. Transportation Improvement Association CEO Jim Santilli says 295 tickets were written and five people were arrested on outstanding warrants during the effort which focused on M-59 between I-75 and I-94.

Though Santilli did not specify when the 12-hour period occurred, he said participating agencies included Michigan State Police, the Macomb County Sheriff's Office, the Auburn Hills, Chesterfield Township, Clinton Township, Shelby Township, Sterling Heights and Utica police departments.

It was not immediately made clear how many tickets were issued via Operation Ghostrider throughout the whole month.

Santilli says many of those pulled over admitted to texting and driving. He's looking to expand the program and will be outlining the program before the National Governors Highway Safety meeting in California.  

In April Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shalide told WWJ's Sandra McNeill the problem of distracted driving has become "beyond ridiculous."

"Everyone's looking at their phone," Shalide said. "I was on the freeway the other day, I noticed a woman, probably for 30 solid seconds, never looked out of her lap with her head down driving on the freeway. It's actually scary out here on the roads right now."

Shalied wanted to make one thing perfectly clear to anyone who would complain about the program:  

"I've looked on Facebook; some of the comments they say this is a money grab," Shalide said in April. "We don't care about the money."

"I mean, out here, thank God, we have a ton of money and we have have no problems with our budget. This is far from a money grab," he said. "I've never even asked my officers to write any tickets at all; I'm not a ticket guy. We're about enforcement and making sure that our community is educated and our streets are safe." 

Enforcement agencies were expected to evaluate Operation Ghostrider after its conclusion, and may continue, or relaunch the program at any time without notice.