DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - August 3, 2007

Deer whistles might prevent costly collisions

Danville police installing devises to keep deer from path of patrol cars

by Jordan M. Doronila

A few years ago, Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel spotted a cute deer as he drove his blue 1986 Toyota at twilight in Lafayette. Suddenly it sprinted at him, hitting his car and then running away.

"It was like a predator coming at me and then it scurried away," Wenzel said. "I was so mad. I could barely get out of my car. The thing caused $1,500 damages to my car. My corner light was damaged. My front fender was crushed."

To stop potential collisions with deer, he is considering buying deer whistles for the Danville Police Department's fleet of 13 cars. A deer whistle is a sonic generator mounted on cars to help prevent collisions with deer, according to traffic safety experts. The device produces an ultrasonic sound, relying on the animal's acute sense of hearing.

"It's a chief prevention," Wenzel said. "This area has a ton of deer around. We are protecting the taxpayers' money."

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," he added.

Collisions between deer and police cars do not happen often in Danville, Wenzel said. Although he did recall when he was police chief in Orinda that one of his officers was hit by a deer, which caused $7,800 in damage. He noted police used whistles in the past but moved away from them. At times, the weather broke the plastic devices, which may have not been replaced.

"It's something we used to do," he said.

However, studies from the University of Wisconsin and Washington State University said that deer whistles have not necessarily decreased collisions between patrol cars and deer.

Wenzel said he has seen these findings.

"We are finding conflicting things," he said.

Nevertheless, the Police Department's chief financial officer will study how the purchase of whistles factors into the budget, Wenzel said. The cost of each whistle is approximately $10.

"My philosophy is that we are looking into this," he said. "If it saves one vehicle from being damaged, it's worth it."

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@danvilleweekly.com or 837-8300.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields