The Augusta Safety Department just received another tool to help keep residents safer.
A $19,000 Kansas Department of Transportation grant was matched with 10 percent of the purchase price from local funds to purchase a radar trailer.
The solar-powered trailer monitors speeds and can let motorists know when they need to slow down without an officer being required to operate the unit.
Chief Tyler Brewer said dispatchers or animal control officers have been used to monitor speed in areas of concern in the past. When more than 30 percent of the drivers were traveling at nine or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit, the safety department would begin special traffic enforcement programs in the area.
The new trailer records speeds in a log that can be used to help with decision making.
Brewer said traffic control required education and enforcement. This new trailer will help with the education portion of the program. If problem areas are discovered, enforcement will follow.
“We don’t like to write tickets for speeding,” Chief Brewer said. “But I want our officers to write enough to keep me from having to knock on doors after an accident.”
Brewer said he expects the unit to be used along the two major highways that bisect the city. He also saw uses area school zones and other similar areas.
But one of the unique features of this type of device is that it can deliver any message even if the radar unit is not being used. Emergency situations and lane closures can be accomplished more safely thank to the new trailer.
Brewer and his staff have been trying to secure a grant for a device like this for most of his 11-year tenure with the city.
“This is state-of-the-art,” Brewer said. “No one has anything better than this. It will help us keep people safe.”