TRAIN ENFORCEMENT: Local Agencies Team Up

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Several law enforcement officials took part in a unique enforcement to catch drivers violating railroad crossings from the inside of the locomotive.

Polk County Sgt. Jeff Rullman rode inside a Union Pacific train to see the violations that a train conductor sees on a daily basis.

“We get to see what the engineers and the people on the train get to see themselves when there is a violation and sometimes the close calls that come with that,” says Sgt. Rullman.

Once the lights start flashing it’s against the law to cross the tracks even if the crossing arms haven’t come down yet.

Yet time and time again, vehicles kept crossing the tracks right in front of a moving train.

Sgt. Rullman would radio in the violation and officials from Johnston, Polk County, Des Moines, Altoona and the Iowa State Patrol set up shop in front of several crossings ready to pull over a driver willing to break the law.

The annual enforcement helps law enforcement officials get a look at specific train-crossings.

And also encourages the public to obey flashing lights, crossing arms and train horns or risk getting pulled over.

“The arms are there for a reason the crossing lights are there for a reason so we put those there for them to obey them not to disregard them,” says Sgt. Rullman.

During the 2 ½ hour enforcement ten tickets were issued.

A ticket for violating a train crossing will run you $330 bucks.


  • John

    What to do when the train parks 50 feet from the intersection and the lights and bells are going off for 4 or 5 hours in the night as the engine idles and the air breaks vent every 40 seconds… flashing red lights are like the little boy who cried wolf near my house…

  • Mark

    How often do the police enforce traffic laws that say how long a train can block highways, streets and roads?

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