Fairfield Police Chief Gary McNamara said that violation of traffic laws is among the top concerns for local law enforcement, and his department is taking steps to crack down on the problem.

On July 1, police will deploy a new traffic unit, whose four officers will specifically target those traffic crimes and related issues.

"Traffic safety, and trying to stem the tide of traffic violations, is highly important," McNamara said.

The unit, under supervision of Lt. James Perez and Sgt. Robert Kalamaras, will include Officers James Chueka, Gary Wikman, Ben Krygier and Paul Medvegy.

Perez said enforcement will not be the only focus of the new unit. "It won't be just giving out tickets," he said. The officers will also involved educating the community and working with the town's Engineering and Public Works departments.

Among the traffic-law violations that unit will focus on are speeding, disregarding traffic lights. and talking or texting while driving, as well as pedestrians who do not use sidewalks.

"That's going to be part of the education," Perez said.

He pointed to a recent problem with Sherman School parents parking on narrow East Paulding Place while dropping off or picking up students. Perez said parents were apparently under the impression that the street is one way, although it is not. He said a letter was sent to Sherman's principal, giving parents two weeks notice about illegal parking before police would begin enforcement. After that two weeks, he said, parents were still parking there. "We ticketed five or six cars," Perez said. "After that, it completely stopped."

The new unit will use several different technologies, including both radar and laser guns, speed monitor trailers, and speed plates that are placed across the roadway and not only count the number of cars, but make note of their speeds and the weather conditions.

The tools will help them investigate residents' complaints about traffic issues.

For example a speeding complaint on Pemburn Drive, Perez said, turned out to be a problem of volume and not speed. "I put out the speed plates and it turned out the average speed was 31 mph," he said, but 500 cars traveled the road during one 24-hour period.

What the Police Department is trying to do, Perez said, is change the culture in Fairfield with regard to traffic habits.

"It's not an easy task," he said, but they want drivers to know that when they come into Fairfield, "you will drive according to the law."

Forms for residents to fill out regarding traffic issues can be found at www.fpdct.com or are available at police headquarters, 100 Reef Road. Calls can also be made to 203-254-4815.