Sheriff's Office to target local speeders in problem areas
By JOHN PLESTINA
Ely Times Reporter
It's time to get the lead out because you might get caught on neon, or worse on radar.
The White Pine County Sheriff's Department is not playing games with speeders. If you speed, and an officer catches you on radar, it will cost you. If you get caught on the neon display of the new Smart 850 speed display trailer consider yourself warned.
The county recently purchased the trailer with a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety. Used by police departments across the nation, the trailers serve as warnings to speeders displaying their actual speed caught on radar. It also provides statistical data for law enforcement use. The speed trailer got its first tryout on April 17 on Mill Street one block from the four-way stop the city installed at the corner of Mill and Dickerson streets the day before. That is an area that has had habitual speed problems, according to several residents of that neighborhood. The trailer's second use was in the 15 mph school speed zone in front of White Pine Middle School on Aultman Street the next day.
Since then, the trailer has been used at least four days each week. So far the sheriff's department has used it to compile data on speed violations in school speed zones around the city, on Mill Street and on Campton Street near 10th Street.
“What I like about the trailer is it gives you the times and it breaks it down to categories,” said Captain Scott Henriod.
The fastest recorded speed on Mill Street was 34 mph, a 14-mph excess but most motorists were not driving that fast. “Mill Street was not a big problem the day we did it,” he said. Of 87 vehicles that passed the trailer on Mill Street, 70 were either obeying the 20 mph limit or were exceeding it by no more than 2 mph. “That can vary from day to day.”
The sheriff's department is most concerned with excessive speed of at least 15 miles per hour or more. “That shows us there is an extreme problem,” Henriod said.
When the trailer was set up in the 25 mph zone on Campton Street from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., about 250 vehicles drove past it.
“That seems to be a high problem area. We had some pretty good speeds coming down through there,” Henriod said. The highest recorded speed was 48 mph. “So when we get speeds like that we know that's a problem area.”
Officers worked Campton Street one day last week and wrote several speeding tickets.
Bobcat Drive near White Pine High School is a location where some people have called in complaints about speed to the sheriff's department.
“We were actually pretty pleased with the results we got up there,” Henriod said.
The number of speeders in the 15 mph school zone on Aultman Street was not excessive but the highest recorded speed at that location was 52 mph, a speed the sheriff's department considers excessive in the school zone.
The plan is to move the trailer around as a deterrent to speed and to different locations to best determine the problem areas. Henriod said that while it is used mostly in Ely it will be set up in Lund and McGill from time to time.