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Neighbors Will Get Chance To Clock Speeders

INDEPENDENCE -- Motorists who regularly exceed the speed limit in Independence may soon have more to worry about than police patrol cars.

The Independence Police Department is making radar guns available to community members who want to monitor traffic in their own neighborhoods.

Citizens can check out guns for a two-day period. The program is made possible by a three-year, $5,000 traffic safety grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Carl Nightengale, the Traffic Safety Technician, said its the number of complaints the department receives on a daily basis that prompted the program.

"There are reports in every neighborhood, but we don't have the manpower to send out patrols solely to check for speeders," Nightengale said.

"This allows people to be proactive in their neighborhoods, to take responsiblity and perhaps even relieve some of the burden on officers."

The speed checks will require two people: one to operate the gun, the other to record the speed and description of the vehicle into a log.

Information gathered from the program could be used to help plan patrol routes or let officers determine what type of speeding incidents need the most attention, Nightengale said.

Issuing the radar guns doesn't mean the department is deputizing citizens; police won't be able to write tickets based on incidents reported by the residents.

A person can, however, notify police of those vehicles most frequently tagged, with the radar gun data as proof. Officers may then visit the homes of those drivers, Nightengale said.

Independence police handed out 198 citiations for speeding violations last year, officials said. Fines for speeding range between $94 and $437.

Stryker Road, Ash, Monmouth, F, Fourth and Seventh streets generate the most speeding complaints in the city, Nightengale said.

For more information or to check out a radar gun: Carl Nightengale or Jill Thissel at 503-838-1214.

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