Manuel says speed tracker helping in many ways

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Motorists traveling through Demopolis may have noticed a new addition on streets and highways. For the last week the Demopolis Police Department has been using a speed-tracking trailer, much like the model they plan to purchase, to get a feel for how this new piece of equipment could help their department.

Demopolis Police Chief Jeff Manuel said the machine has been very helpful. He said they have also received a lot of praise for placing it around town to help deter speeders.

“We have been using the speed trailer and have been able to gather some pretty good data on it,” Manuel said. “We have had a lot of people from various neighborhoods call and we plan to move it around for the next two weeks and hopefully by then we will be able to purchase.”

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The trailer has made its rounds since arriving. Manuel said they ha used it everywhere from city streets to U.S. Highway 80.

“We had it on Herbert Street yesterday and moved it to Old Spring Hill Road,” Manuel said. “We are going to move it to various locations around town. We will leave it in those locations for 24 hours at a time and gather the data from it.”

Some data from the machine has been very alarming for the department. Manuel said they placed the machine on Highway 80 West and were surprised at the volume of traffic and the speeds motorists were traveling in a 45-mile per hour zone.

“It is really amazing the high speeds that have been reported off of it,” Manuel said. “We had about 13,000 vehicles in just over 24 hours and I think the highest speed was 78 miles per hour.”

Manuel said the date recorded by the machine has let them know where they need to dedicate more patrols. He said high speeds were not limited to the heavily traveled areas.

“It has actually showed that we need a little more assistance out there,” Manuel said. “Maria Street was another place we learned a lot from. They were speeding pretty good out there. I think the highest speed we got was 66 miles per hour.”

Manuel said this particular machine is on loan and would be used for the next couple of weeks. He said hopefully the department would be able to purchase by that time.

The model the department is using now is fully loaded and costs around $12,000. Manuel said the model they would purchase would not have as many extras. The department applied for funding to help with the purchase of a new machine several weeks ago and expects to get an answer on their application very soon.