DAYTON — The Dayton Police Department will start enforcing state law and town code barring cars from being parked facing oncoming traffic due to concerns about safety, Chief Justin Trout announced at the Dayton Town Council meeting on Monday.

Trout said he will write up a document informing drivers in the town about the upcoming enforcement before police begin writing tickets.

There have also been complaints from town residents of cars being parked on the wrong side of the road, Trout said.

“I can’t write a ticket if I’m allowing others to do it,” he said.

The tickets start $20, but if they are not paid within 10 days, they double to $40.

Cars parked facing traffic pull into oncoming traffic, which is unsafe for both drivers, Trout said.

Dayton police will also be finalizing purchases of mobile data systems for the town’s law enforcement vehicles, he said.

The systems, which will be on laptops inside the vehicles, are linked to the Virginia Criminal Information Network and the National Crime Information Center.

The Virginia Criminal Information Network and National Crime Information Center have data about previous crimes so officers can know, for example, if a car they pulled over is stolen from a different locality or state, Trout said.

“It’s a very expensive project and a small town like us, there are grants for us to reduce the cost to the town and the citizens,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the town $24,700 in grants to pay for the systems. The town will be paying approximately $20,000, Trout said.

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Communications Center is overseeing the project and Dayton is one of the many area localities getting the systems, Trout said.

“We’re currently now in the testing phases of that to make sure the information is correct and everything is inputted correctly,” he said.

Trout said he expects the system to be operational by November.

The police department will also be adding a new section to its activity report, which is given to Town Council at monthly meetings, as well as uploaded to the town’s website.

For example, in July, the data show that Dayton police had 26 calls for service. However, this number does not tell the complete story, Trout said.

“In actuality, there’s been more than that,” he said, as the calls for service recorded in the report are only for reportable offenses.

There are many more times where officers are called and they give advice and guidance on residents’ issues, which are not listed on the report, Trout said.

“It’s just to show council and the town how much work the police department is doing,” he said. “Not everything has a report or traffic ticket attached to it.”

Contact Ian Munro at 574-6278 or Follow Ian on Twitter @IanMunroDNR

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