Soldotna police gadgets track speed, sound in area

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2003

In an effort to keep up with people who like to live fast and furious, the Soldotna Police Department got some new eyes and ears.

The police force has added portable speed and noise detectors to its arsenal. According to Soldotna acting Police Chief Sgt. Marvin Towell, the new items will help the city keep better tabs on what's going on around town. He said the portable radar detector, which has a digital display to indicate how fast motorists are going, should help slow down traffic.

Towell said the equipment recently was set up on East Redoubt, where neighborhood residents reacted favorably to the new sign.

"The people who live out there were very happy," Towell said.

He said he's especially happy to have the equipment right before school starts. With children walking to school and teenagers driving, speed is one of the department's biggest concerns during back-to-school time. Officers can't be stationed at every intersection, Towell said, so having one more tool to help monitor traffic will help out a lot.

"It's going to come in real handy when school starts," he said.

In addition to using the portable speed sign, Towell hinted that the department might use other weapons against speeders, including using empty police cars in conjunction with the signs.

"We're toying with the idea of parking vacant police cars," he said. "Then maybe a couple days later we'll put someone inside."

Towell said the other new piece of equipment, the noise detector, will help the department better monitor situations that may be causing a neighborhood disturbance.

"It will help us get a handle on what's going on," he said.

Although the department uses a number of weapons to combat minor offenses like excessive speed and noise, Towell said it's not the department's goal to bust more citizens. Instead, he said police are just trying to look out for the people of Soldotna.

"We write tickets, it's our job. But it's not what we enjoy doing," Towell said. "We want to keep the streets safe."

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