Speeding complaints lead police department to get speed watch trailer

By Carolyn Cole

Published on February 28, 2008

Residents’ complaints of speeding in neighborhoods and along busy streets led Mustang police to put a new watchdog on its leash.

Police are now using a speed radar trailer to keep a silent but visible watch on city streets.

Until this week, Police Chief Monte James said additional police patrols were the department’s response to neighbors’ concerns. Drivers decreased speeds when the officers were present, he said, but continued with old habits once the patrols left the neighborhood.

“With limited resources, those types of things are usually very ineffective,” he said. “We can only go there when we are available to do that, and we don’t know exactly when people are speeding.”

The speed trailer clocks the speeds of cars approaching it with radar, and James said its purchase came from $12,000 raised from previous traffic ticket fines.
Mustang officers write an average of 1,188 speeding tickets a year.

“The people who are violating the traffic laws actually helped buy us that speed trailer,” he said.

The trailer isn’t an enforcement tool, James said, and while it displays speeds, the equipment doesn’t record vehicle information or any data that could be used to issue citations. James said he doesn’t believe most Mustang drivers pay attention to their speed and aren’t intentionally breaking the law.

“You are going to and from work, you aren’t thinking about how fast you are going,” he said.

Officers plan to post the trailer at areas in the city where traffic speeds decrease, such as on North Mustang Road, state Highway 4, state Highway 92 and state Highway 152. James said the trailer will also be used in road construction zones and school zones.

Neighbors can also request officers to move the trailer onto residential streets. James said residents should speak to neighbors about their concerns and organize neighborhood meetings to discuss worries with officers. If concerns are widespread, he said police could station the speed trailer inside the neighborhood and give neighbors signs for their yards warning drivers that there are “Children at Play.”

“Residential speeding is not just a city concern, but a neighborhood concern,” he said.

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