ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In the first six months of 2022, Abilene met the 2021 total number of traffic accident-related fatalities. 16 lives lost in 12 crashes this year alone.

The alarming figure is what pushed Abilene Police Department (APD) to work against the uptick in major traffic incidents.

Operation Slow Down is a special two-week operative which takes place Tuesday, June 7 through June 21.

“It is an initiative for us. It’s going to last two weeks where we help target traffic enforcement in different areas of Abilene,” explained Administrative Sergeant John Ramirez

Funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), APD will bolster their patrol presence in key areas of transit all across the city. This initiative is enacted with the hope to enforce traffic laws in greater number and educate the public on the consequences of reckless driving.

“Any time that we can start to allocate some more of our officers to help alleviate some of our issues that we see in the city, we’re going to absolutely try to do that.” Sgt. Ramirez said.

Abilene Yearly Crash Report, via APD

While Sgt. Ramirez tells KTAB/KRBC completely ending traffic fatalities in Abilene is out of APD’s scope of control, he said the department hopes efforts like Operation Slow Down will help reverse the trend the city has seen over the past four years.

“We want to ensure that no matter what, we educate the public and get everyone to understand that what they’re doing behind the wheel of a vehicle matters every second of every day,” Sgt. Ramirez added.