He’s gunning for speeders
Technology turns radar detectors against drivers
Speeding on Manteca streets?
Then be warned. Nick Obligacion is among Manteca Police Department’s four officer traffic division are gunning for you with the latest technology in radar guns and other detection devices.
And if you think radar detectors are going to protect you, guess again. The new laser technology actually harnesses radar detectors to get a lock on offending vehicles.
“I like them,” Obligacion told the Manteca Noon Rotary on Thursday. “They (radar detectors) make my job a lot easier.”
The latest radar technology includes on-the-bike equipment plus a hand-held guns that uses lasers. It is accurate at measuring speed and distance within one inch over 1,000 feet.
And as long as all of the equipment is properly calibrated, beating a speeding ticket is virtually impossible.
Obligacion has been with the Manteca Police for 15 years. The last eight years has been working the streets as a traffic officer. There are two other motorcycle officers. The fourth traffic officer is assigned exclusively to drunken driving enforcement working a night shift Thursday through Sunday.
Obligation said the newer radar units can get accurate reads on specific vehicles using the laser whether they are going or coming.
He apologized for those he may have met professionally if he comes off as a tad too functional.
“It’s a stressful situation already for the driver,” Obligacion said. “I just try to make it quick, professional, and efficient as possible.”
A typical traffic stop takes Obligacion from eight to 10 minutes once the stop is made until he gets back on his Harley.
The hot spots for speeding in Manteca “keep shifting” although Obligacion said you’ll see Union Road and Louise Avenue often competing for the top spot.
But also on the list are streets such as Pestana Avenue in east Manteca that Obligacion has been working heavily lately much to the chagrin of those who have gotten speeding tickets.
“Officers each have their level of threshold,” Obligacion said as to what point when speeding exceeds the limit they’re opt to write a ticket. “You want to make sure its reasonable enough the ticket won’t be challenged successfully.”
Contrary to misconceptions, Manteca Police do not have quotas nor do they pocket most of the money you pay when you get a ticket.
Of the actual fine, 92 percent goes to the city and the rest to the state and county to run the court system. But the courts slap on $21 in mandatory charges for every $10 in ticket fines they assess.
That means on a $300 ticket, the city gets $92 and the county and state $208.
Most tickets can be reduced at a judge’s option. But one ticket that Obligacion and others write out fairly frequently can’t be reduced by judges. That’s the fine for ignoring the red lights on school buses.
“You’re supposed to stop from both directions on a two-lane road,” Obligacion said. “The fine is $496, non-reduceable.”
After speeding, Obligacion says not coming to a complete stop at stop signs is the biggest traffic violation in Manteca.
“A lot of people think stop signs mean slow,” he said.
By DENNIS WYATT
Managing editor of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin