NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island State Police troopers took the ferry from Point Judith to Block Island Friday morning to help with extra patrolling on the island.
Six police cruisers arrived and troopers have started to provide enhanced traffic enforcement on the island. This comes after two deadly crashes occurred in less than a week and an uptick in moped crashes overall.
This is the first time the Traffic Safety Unit has been deployed on the island. The troopers are trained in specialized impaired driving detection techniques including certification as drug recognition experts.
The eight state police patrols are in addition to four New Shoreham police patrols.
State Police Superintendent Col. James Manni joined the group of troopers Friday and will meet with New Shoreham’s police chief, and other town officials.
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“We need to act quickly in an environment where pedestrians, bicycles, mopeds, and cars are often sharing the same streets, and where many operators are unfamiliar with their surroundings,” Manni said in a news release earlier this week.
Manni says this includes drunk driving, speeding and moped infractions like wearing a helmet.
Dr. Thomas Warcup, of the Block Island Medical Center, told New Shoreham’s Town Council Wednesday there have been 55 moped accidents on Block Island since the start of summer.
The figure provided Wednesday means there were 11 additional moped crashes since a deadly incident last weekend. Corey Sanville, 22, died when his moped crashed head-on with an SUV Saturday afternoon.
“You have 1,000 people that live here and you have 10-15 thousand people on a busy holiday weekend so it’s a very complex public safety issue,” Manni said. “Small windy roads, you have pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, mopeds, runners so it’s a big challenge for public safety on any given day.”
State police tell Eyewitness News while Troopers have been scheduled to various shifts, they have primarily assigned seven troopers to work each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Labor Day Weekend.
Since it was launched last November, the unit has issued 3,751 citations, in addition to making 331 arrests for impaired driving, and other violations.