Police aim at speeders
Fri, Mar 17, 2006
By MARCUS E. HOWARD
The Brunswick News
Lasers are making a difference on Brunswick and Glynn County road.
Both city and county police say their Light Detection and Ranging speed detectors that use a laser beam to fix a radar speed reading on a specific vehicle have helped to slow down speeders.
"A lot of people are complaining because there's nothing they can do about it and they get mad when they're caught," said Cpl. Richie Douberly of the Brunswick Police Department.
Brunswick Police Officer Bill Maher said that before the city purchased its two speed detectors, known as LIDAR for short, it was not uncommon to see drivers zooming 70 mph to 80 mph across the F.J. Torras Causeway. The speed limit on the city side of the causeway is 50 mph.
Now, police have found, drivers are sticking closer to the speed limit.
Douberly and Maher are among a handful of officers in the traffic division of the city police department who work with LIDAR frequently. While one officer uses the LIDAR unit in his vehicle, other officers stop motorists snared by the laser device.
The officers say it is not unusual for police to ticket 17 motorists for speeding in a period of 30 minutes in areas where LIDAR is being used.
Police also say that the high-tech unit are increasing police visibility, because more motorists are seeing officers handing out speeding citations.
"With the LIDAR, we could start effectively using it and stop the speeders in high traffic areas like Gloucester Street, the causeway, Glynn Avenue, Newcastle Street, where there is a lot of traffic and there are multiple lanes," said Douberly.
Douberly said the hours before school begins and after it closes are when most LIDAR-related stops are made.
"Since we've been using them, it's getting harder to catch people speeding, which means (motorists are) paying attention and they're trying not to speed as much," he said.
"They're getting used to us being there, so they slow down, which is our objective, because that is what is going to make the streets safer and keep people from having accidents."
City police have issued 457 speeding citations between the time they began using LIDAR, Sept. 1, 2005, and Feb. 1.
The Glynn County Police Department is experiencing success similar to the city's with the use of LIDAR, having issued a total of 586 speeding citations in January and February.
"It has been really successful because of the range and the ability to target specific vehicles," Glynn County Police Capt. Jack Boyet said of the county's use of two LIDAR units.
Boyet said he would not be surprised if the county police department purchases more LIDAR units, given its extensive use of them on Georgia 520, U.S. 341, U.S. 17 and the county portion of the F.J. Torras Causeway.