Danville police stepping up their speed patrols
By Pam G. Dempsey
Thursday, October 4, 2007 6:29 AM CDT

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DANVILLE Speeders and small children don't mix, said parent Paige Brown.

Brown, 37, frequently drives the city's main thoroughfares Fairchild, Gilbert, Seminary and Vermilion streets. She said the lead-footed drivers she observes make her worry about the safety of her children.

"There are too many distracted drivers," Brown said.

But the Danville Police Department has plans to slow people down.

City police are set to begin speed-enforcement details Monday. The overtime details are part of a nearly $25,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

They will target Fairchild, Gilbert, Seminary and Vermilion streets, said Sgt. Rick Payton.

"Speed is a factor in traffic accidents," Payton said. "Our goal is to reduce traffic accidents."

In 2004, there were 589 fatalities from speed-related crashes in the state, according to the Danville Police Department. High speed contributed to 43 percent of all fatal crashes.

Until recently, the city paid for its own traffic enforcement, said Deputy Director Bob Richard. Last year's budget for overtime traffic enforcement was $25,000.

But this year, that money was diverted to help pay for the problem-oriented policing unit, which takes a proactive approach to solving some of the city's crime issues, Richard said.

"At the time, we felt it was the most needed there," Richard said.

The grant will replace what was diverted, he said.

The money will pay for six monthlong overtime patrols throughout the next year, Payton said. There will be 24 four-hour overtime shifts each of those months.

Though the primary focus will be to reduce speeding violations, "we don't ignore other traffic offenses," Richard said.

Speed limits range from 30 mph to 35 mph along Gilbert Street and from 20 mph to 45 mph along Vermilion Street. The speed limit on Fairchild and Seminary streets is 30 mph.