Windcrest police trying new approach with traffic tickets through text

Residents have mixed feelings about the new program

WINDCREST – Being pulled over by police can be stressful for both drivers and officers, not to mention time consuming for both.

The Trusted Drivers Program is hoping to eliminate that face-to-face interaction for minor traffic violations by sending tickets through text.

Windcrest police is the first department in the nation to test the program. It requires residents to sign up on, input some personal information like your cell phone number and driver’s license. Then police will be able to see if you’re a part of the program by running your license plate. So far, the program has been running for two weeks.

“So far we have not come in contact with anybody that’s signed up for the program. Our patrol cars haven’t come across anyone yet,” said Windcrest Police Lt. Benjamin Crum.

Lt. Crum said for the program to be a success, they need community involvement.

We spoke to residents in Windcrest, none of which had heard about the program yet. They had mixed reviews.

“I think it saves time. It gives police more time to do other things,” said Peter Seldon, a Windcrest resident.

“Talk to people like a regular person, you know what I mean, not with a badge. I think that would kind of solve some issues For the people getting pulled over too, same for them,” said Roderick Reliford, a Windcrest resident.

Executive Director of Black Freedom Factory, Kimiya Factory, is a big advocate of change for how officers and civilians interact.

She was very active in George Floyd protests. She applauded this program, saying it is not a solution but certainly a step in the right direction. She said for people of color, a routine traffic stop can turn violent quickly.

“It’s terrifying that communities of color can make a wrong turn or make a small traffic violation and that can be the outcome of whether or not they go home to their families,” said Factory.

About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.