Grants enabling sheriff's deputies to keep closer watch on speeders

State funds cover costs of holiday overtime, additional radar unit

August 19, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

With the help of state grant money, deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office will be on the lookout for speeders, especially on secondary roads where nearly 27,000 schoolchildren will soon be walking or awaiting buses.

"The money has been out there for all county police agencies through the CRASH program [Carroll Resources to Advance Safer Highways Coalition]," said Lt. Charles Paulsen, who directs the deputies on road patrol for Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning. "We're just taking advantage of it to use overtime patrols to fight excessive speed and drunken or drugged drivers."

The coalition, which was started about three years ago, draws its membership from state and local police, the county Board of Commissioners, other county agencies, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Cranberry Mall and Junction Inc., a substance-abuse treatment center, Paulsen said.

Overtime holiday patrols on the three-day holiday weekends of Labor Day last year and Memorial Day and July 4 this year have netted the county $1,350 in state grant reimbursements, Paulsen said.

Two deputies worked the traffic patrols during peak nighttime hours for each of the holiday weekends, and the county was reimbursed for their overtime wages through the CRASH grants, Paulsen said.

During those three holiday weekends, he said, the deputies stopped 120 vehicles. They issued 46 speeding tickets and 42 warnings. They cited 15 people for seat belt violations and issued seven repair orders and 17 other citations for various offenses.

"And they made eight arrests, including two suspects from a burglary that had just occurred," Paulsen said.

The sheriff's office also recently received an $1,100 grant through the CRASH program for an additional radar unit.

"This is a matter of fully utilizing resources," Paulsen said.

Countywide, CRASH statistics show that state and local police issued 217 citations or warnings during the July 4 weekend, up from the 141 handed out during the Memorial Day weekend.

Paulsen said the county roads department uses a speed-monitoring device to survey any road that has been the object of a complaint about speeding.

The surveys have shown that about 85 percent of motorists in Carroll County often exceed the posted speed limit by 4 to 5 mph, he said. "And 15 percent frequently exceed the limit by 10 mph or more," he added.

About three to four speeding complaints are reported to the sheriff's office each week, Paulsen said.

"Most are from parents or senior citizens," he said. "They are concerned about their kids riding bicycles on secondary roads, or for themselves just out for a walk."

Pedestrian traffic in neighborhoods is a growing concern, and Paulsen said he immediately assigns a deputy to follow up on any complaint he receives.

Radar might not be used in every instance but deputies are watching for speeders while on patrol, he said.

"We just want people to be more cognizant about their speed and slow down, especially at this time of the year when schools are about to reopen," he said. "People driving the speed limit generally will have enough time to stop, if a child runs across the road. If they are speeding around corners, they won't have time to stop as a school bus loads and unloads children."

Pub Date: 8/19/99

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