AURORA, Colo. -- Aurora police have a new team to cut down on speeders and aggressive drivers. It’s called the HEAT unit -- Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.
Within less than a minute, the seven officers were put to work. Alejandro Ruiz was pulled over for going 87 mph in a 55 mph zone. He said he just didn’t realize he was going so fast.
"I couldn’t deny it, going a certain speed, might as well take the ticket," he said.
The officers said their goal isn't to write tickets, but to cut down on injuries and fatal crashes.
"We discovered 20 percent of the crashes in the city of Aurora were happening on less than 1 percent of the roadway," Officer Al Graham said.
The HEAT unit hit the road in September, and it seems to be working.
"Since then, there have been zero fatalities on the interstate highway system in the city of Aurora. We’ve also reduced crashes by 50 percent," Graham said.
The HEAT team isn’t hiding from anyone. In fact, that's why they let us do a ride-along, to remind drivers they are out here.
“So we want people to see us up there. We’re using marked cars, we’re using marked police motorcycles, so people see obvious police presence and constantly reminding them, wear their seat belt, follow speed limits, not drive aggressively because they know we are there," Graham said.
As busy as the HEAT team is on this day, it is writing fewer tickets.
“People just get used to seeing us out here on the highway and they know they need to slow down and that’s a good thing," Sgt. Bill Revelle said.
Drivers like Ruiz said while they don't like getting busted, they actually appreciate what the HEAT unit is doing.
"Honestly, this is going to help. I gotta stop speeding," he said. I gotta learn from my mistake somehow. It’s good they are cracking down, keeping dumb people off the streets."
In the two hours we spent with the HEAT unit, the seven officers wrote 43 tickets at the same location on eastbound Interstate 70 at Chambers Road.
That area is a posted 55 mph zone and the average speed of the violators pulled over was 76 mph, with a high of 87 mph.