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June 28, 2004
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Radar guns on trees, poles tell police where speeding worst

Dean Narciso
The Columbus Dispatch

Two weeks ago, a vehicle sped along North Star Avenue in Upper Arlington at 16 miles over the 35 mph limit.

A radar gun in a small box attached to a utility pole recorded the driver''s speed at 51 mph. But no one got a ticket. Instead, police will use the information to help them determine which city streets require more police monitoring.

Dubbed Stealth Stat, the technology deployed this month is a response to resident complaints about speeders.

"We were getting a lot of calls from residents wanting speed enforcement on their street, and we couldn''t keep up with them," said Lt. Brian Quinn, who coordinates the program.

"I'd get a call about every day saying there is a speeder on their street. This helps me determine is there a problem or is there a perceived problem."

The system cost the city $3,800. Devices are placed on poles or trees for two or three days. They then are rotated to new locations.

At one intersection along North Star, the device recorded seven motorists exceeding 50 mph within 30 minutes. Officers staked it out and within 10 minutes had caught their first speeder.

One of the first cities in the nation to employ the system was Dublin, which now has three units.

If the collected information indicates there is a problem, police might send neighborhood advisories, or install trailers which post motorists'' speeds as they pass. If speeding persists, officers then issue tickets.

"We''ve had some phenomenal decreases in the average speeds," said Sgt. Ed Gozoski, head of the traffic-enforcement unit in Dublin. "They''ve been very successful in helping us allocate our resources."

Both police departments list their findings on their Web sites, allowing residents to monitor the results and gauge progress.

Quinn has had a few surprises so far.

"It doesn''t surprise me that there is speeding around noon time or rush hours,"he said. "But we had one at Sunday around 10 a.m."

When he looks at the speed data, Quinn said he''s not frustrated that so many speeders go unticketed.

"My reaction is they''ll get caught sometime."

The StealthStat is manufacturered by Kustom Signals. For more information, call 800-458-7866 or visit www.kustomsignals.com.

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