State Rep. Gina Calanni (D-Katy) filed a bill which would allow the Katy Police Department to have a commercial motor vehicle enforcement officer on staff, according to a press release from Calanni’s office. Certified commercial motor vehicle officers are usually limited to the state level or larger cities, Katy Police Capt. Bryon Woytek said.
“We have about eight large truck yards that are either in our city or on the border of our city,” Woytek said. “Even if they’re not coming here, they’re cutting through to somewhere else.”
Texas Department of Public Safety officers are usually responsible for enforcing laws, but those officers aren’t always nearby when violations occur, Woytek said. The city has seen damage to roadways, signs and occasional accidents with other vehicles due to the high volume of commercial trucks, often over their weight limit, that travel through Katy, he said.
“We have an obligation to give our local police every tool at their disposal to protect motorists on our roads and prevent damage and potholes caused by overweight trucks,” Calanni said in the release.
If HB 1308, passes into law, Katy has budgeted for the scales and staff training needed to enforce commercial vehicle laws, Woytek said. Only one officer will be trained, but that officer would work in tandem with the rest of the force. If a Katy police officer who is not certified in commercial vehicle enforcement notices a violation, that officer will be able to make the traffic stop and call in the certified officer to evaluate the situation and enforce the law as appropriate, Woytek said.
“We are grateful to Representative Calanni for her efforts to make Katy roads safe for our residents and allow our officers to target enforcement of overweight trucks that damage our city’s infrastructure,” Katy City Council Member Chris Harris said.