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Terrebonne Explores Use of Radar Trailers

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Houma Police will do a 60-day study to determine the usefulness of radar trailers in curbing speeding in residential areas of Terrebonne Parish.

The Parish Council on Monday requested an advanced study by Houma Police Lt. Bobbie O’Bryan on how well the devices work in providing information to enforce speeding.

O’Bryan said the department has developed its own radar trailer that provides data on how fast people are travelling, what type of vehicle it is, what times of the day speeding is most problematic and how many cars travel in an area in a given period of time. The information is provided in real time and is accessible by the department from anywhere via the Internet.

The trailers will also be outfitted with cameras as a safeguard against tampering with them.

“We’re not using the trailer as an enforcement tool in reference to the officers. We’re using the trailer as a compliance tool to help people to slow down, plus take the complaints from the Neighborhood Watch people seriously and have data,” O’Bryan said.

He said the trailers will give officers a better idea of when and where they need to be to cut down on speeding.

“With the radar trailers that we originally purchased, you could run lines out and tell how many vehicles pass and what the speed is. But you had to have the software to download the information,” O’Bryan said. “This unit provides information, just like the other units do, to better effectively put our officers in the neighborhoods when they are telling us there are speeding issues and speeding problems because it’s not always all day.”

The trailers cost roughly $5,500 each to assemble. Houma Police have one test trailer in use that O’Bryan will use to conduct test runs throughout the parish.

In late March the Parish Council discussed the possibility of using speed and red light cameras. That idea was tossed out amid fears of continued controversy and lawsuits surrounding the legality of the devices.

Councilman Daniel Babin made the motion for O’Bryan to conduct a study of the effect of the cameras and submit a report after 60 days.

“We need to find out how accurate the system is and how well it works,” Babin said.

He said he would be more apt to vote for something he knows works.

Councilman John Navy, who broached the subject, said he already has several areas in mind for the trailers. A life, he said, is worth more than the cost of the trailers.

“The minute a child’s life is lost, you will see how valuable these types of tools are to control these speeders,” he said.

Courtesy:Chris LeBlanc

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