FERNLEY–The City of Fernley is planning to purchase high-tech traffic radars for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office deputies based in Fernley.
Appearing in street clothes and as a citizen, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Mike Lange made the proposal to the Fernley City Council.
At last Wednesday’s meeting the Council agreed to pursue the purchase of five traffic radars at a price of $9,305 and City Treasurer Bonnie Duke will present to the Council a budget augmentation to extract the funds from the city’s contingency fund at the Nov. 30 meeting.
The Council will hear an audit presentation at the Nov. 30 meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
Lange began by telling the Council that the patrol deputies asked him to make the request because the radars that are issued by the LCSO are ineffective in Fernley due to the traffic congestion on most major streets in the area.
He told the Council that based on telephone calls he receives and calls received by the LCSO dispatch office, traffic is a major concern among Fernley residents.
Lange added typically traffic is not a top priority of the sheriff’s office but in Fernley it is a major concern due to the traffic problems that exist here.
“We use radars that are refurbished and are 5-10 years old. The radars work fine in other areas but not in Fernley,” said Lange, and he continued, “Here they don’t work good due to the traffic problems.”
He went on to say in areas where traffic volume is large and congested, the county-issued radars switch off and deputies are unable to obtain a motorist’s speed.
Lange then displayed traffic radars which are being purchased by the Nevada Highway Patrol and he said they are more efficient and high tech and do not deactivate in traffic congestion.
The LCSO lieutenant emphasized the radars used by LCSO patrol deputies work fine in other areas of the county but not in Fernley.
He went on to say the benefits of purchasing the radars is first public safety as speeders would be stopped but he also pointed out that at times a speeder may also face other law enforcement issues such as an arrest warrant, use of controlled substance or DUI (driving under the influence).
The second benefit to the city would be revenue, remarked Lange. He added that if each of the five deputies wrote one ticket per day, which could result in the driver being fined $100, by the end of the month the radars would be paid for.
Further the radars would become property of the city. “They would be owned by the City of Fernley and used only by Fernley deputies,” said Lange.
He also went on to say the radars have dual antennas that allow law enforcement to track the speed of a motorist driving toward a patrol unit and also of a motorist driving away from the patrol car.
Lange told the council that all five deputies have been trained and certified on the radar equipment and thus no additional training was necessary.
Councilman Ralph Menke asked Duke if there was money to purchase the equipment, to which Duke remarked, “Right now there is no appropriations for that sort of thing. It would have to be an augmentation process.”
Curt Chaffin, councilman, said, “I’m puzzled why the county ends up using inferior equipment when we here in Fernley pay quite a bit of money for support we get in law enforcement. Why can’t the county purchase good equipment?”
Lange remarked the county equipment works fine but it doesn’t suit the needs of traffic enforcement specific to Fernley.
“The radars work fine in other places (in the county),” he said, and added in Fernley cars travel one right after another and it’s extremely congested and difficult for officers to obtain the speed of a car because the radar deactivates.
Chaffin, however, remarked the County should provide radars specific to Fernley also because the city pays for the service.
“The county worries about the county. I worry about Fernley. Fernley is a city,” said Lange.
“We leave a lot of money on the table for the service we get. The county should provide tools they need,” said Chaffin.
Lange remarked the deputies in Fernley can still use the county-issued radars but the newer radars would enhance the service.
Councilman Monte Martin remarked that traffic enforcement was important and with a better radar possibly law enforcement could get the traffic under control. “I’m all for it,” he said.
Mayor David Stix Jr. emphasized the city is not trying to generate revenue with the purchase of the new radars and the city was buying the equipment because it was important.
As discussion wound down, Chaffin remarked that he supported the purchase