Let’s talk Operation BFF – citations, coverage and conversations

A few times a year, the Orlando Police Department (OPD) and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) join forces for Operation Best Foot Forward (BFF), a high-visibility crosswalk enforcement operation where officers sporting their everyday clothes face a dangerous obstacle – crossing the street in a crosswalk. When drivers fail to stop, putting the person walking at risk, they are pulled over and issued a $164 citation – a small price to pay in comparison to taking a life because they ignored their driving responsibilities at a crosswalk.

On June 13, 2018, law enforcement conducted this crosswalk crackdown at six locations across Orange County. OPD and OCSO handed out a total of 44 citations and warnings at these crosswalks, reminding drivers of the law and how important it is to stop for people walking. Thank you, OPD and OCSO, for all of your hard work.

At face value, it is easy to assume that Operation BFF is all about enforcement. In reality, the event also focuses on another one of the ‘E’s in BFF’s Triple E Approach – Education. While OPD and OCSO were able to educate 44 drivers, local coverage through traditional media outlets and social media garnered over 960,000 estimated impressions (AKA, views). That means that almost one million people heard a very important message – stay alert and stop for people crossing the street.

Some of our great media coverage included:

A round of applause to our local stations and outlets – WKMG Channel 6, WFTV Channel 9, Spectrum News 13, WESH 2 News, Orlando Sentinel, Bungalower and 96.5 WDBO – for spreading the word and starting the conversation about what we, as drivers, need to be doing when we see someone crossing the street.

One of the biggest and most important pieces of the education puzzle involves you, our readers. Our followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram made sure to spread the word and asked all of the right questions about Operation BFF. Our partners at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office even put together this great video for Facebook. Thank you for sharing with your friends and family and for commenting with your concerns and questions.

BFF also had some special guests at some of our crosswalk locations. We were glad to see Adriana Patel, a trauma nurse at Orlando Health, who sees first-hand the end result of a car vs. person collision. We were also joined by Frank Gilbert, a Bike/Walk Central Florida board member, who is no stranger to the danger of cars on roads – he wheeled into our crosswalk location on his recumbent bike.

If BFF measured success in terms of reach, we’d definitely call this one a win. But, BFF measures success by yield rates – how many drivers are yielding to people crossing the street in marked crosswalks. Now that enforcement is over, our data collectors are visiting these crosswalks to see how drivers are doing. Stay tuned! In the meantime, check out our full recap of all things Operation BFF below.

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