Tyrone police work with public on speeding concerns

The Tyrone Town Council Thursday approved the purchase of a multi-use SMART trailer that can assist police and the public on a variety of issues such as reminding motorists to comply with speed limits. The trailer will be purchased with existing federal drug funds.

Police Chief Brandon Perkins in making the purchase request noted that reports by citizens of motorists speeding in neighborhoods and other locations in the town contributed to the department’s interest in obtaining the SMART (Speed Monitoring Awareness Radar Trailer) unit.

“Our primary method for responding to these complaints at this time consists of issuing a special watch to officers requiring them to increase patrols in the areas in hopes that the increased presence, combined with enforcement where legal, will reduce these incidents,” Perkins said. “One big problem is that we cannot enforce speed limits with radar or laser on most residential streets because of legal restrictions. Another issue is that we do not always know when to deploy officers to these areas, so it’s usually hit or miss.”

Explaining that increased signage is not an effective deterrant, Perkins said the SMART trailer can be located in specific areas to accomplish a variety of issues that pertain directly to traffic issues. Citing examples of the unit’s capabilities, Perkins said the most visible aspect of the trailer is that it displays the rate of speed of the oncoming vehicle.

“But what many people don’t know is that it contains a computer that performs vehicle counts, time of day and speed that can all be exported for detailed study,” said Perkins, adding that the unit does not run radar that can result in a traffic citation. “The results of these studies can be used to tell police if a problems exists in that area and when most of the violations occur. If a problem is detected we can deploy officers at the right time when they would be most effective in slowing people down.”

Perkins said the SMART trailer can also be used to relay messages and images to help with traffic flow and to communicate relevant information to motorists.

Perkins said he will issue a policy stating that the unit will be deployed within 24 hours of receiving a citizen complaint, with data from the study being shared with the person making the complaint.

The council approved the $19,225 low bid. Paid for with federal drug funds, the account has a current balance of more than $357,000.