Strike Force 98 is a coalition of twenty law enforcement agencies, including the Florida Highway Patrol's Northwest troop, Troop A. These agencies are working together to improve the safety of motorists along the U.S. 98 corridor throughout the Gulf Coast region of Florida’s panhandle. A joint cooperative traffic enforcement and awareness campaign with special emphasis being placed on DUI, unlawful speed, safety belt and child restraint violations, and aggressive drivers, Strike Force 98 began operations during the 24 hour period of Friday, August 16, 2002, with a second phase conducted October 25, 2002.
With 20 agencies participating, efforts ranged from unmarked patrol cars working on U.S. 98, to law enforcement aircraft flying above U.S. 98 throughout Florida’s panhandle. To date, Strike Force 98 has resulted in the following enforcement efforts:
|15||Criminal Arrests (3 by warrant service)|
|87||Criminal Traffic Arrests|
|1110||Traffic Infraction Arrests|
|155||Equipment Violation Notices|
|1367||Total Enforcement Contacts|
The Strike Force 98 member agencies are: Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar Grove Police Department, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Transportation (MCC), Florida Highway Patrol, Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Gulf Breeze Police Department, Gulf County Sheriff’s Office, Mexico Beach Police Department, National Park Service, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Panama City Police Department, Panama City Beach Police Department, Parker Police Department, Pensacola Police Department, Port St. Joe Police Department, Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Police Department, Tyndall Air Force Base and Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
Future periodic intensified enforcement events coupled with public notification through the media will be used to enhance law enforcement’s ability to provide a safer driving environment on U.S. 98. This combined effort will utilize the resources of several local, county, and state law enforcement agencies as well as community safety organizations, local business owners, and media.
The law enforcement agencies of Strike Force 98 would like to thank the media for its extensive coverage of the operation. The media coverage was vital and played a significant role in increasing awareness and educating the public of the hazards of U.S. 98 and law enforcement efforts to make the roadway safer.