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LCSD gets help with speeders on 196

POSTED: October 6, 2007 5:04 a.m.
Finding that Highway 196 was among the worst roadways for fatalities and wrecks, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety gave Liberty County Sheriff Don Martin a new handheld radar gun Wednesday.
In turn, Martin immediately handed the radar gun over to Sgt. Shawn Fields who said he planned to start using it that afternoon and let commuters know the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office is committed to commuter safety.
Robert F. Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, presented the radar gun as part of its Rural Road Initiative that supports rural law enforcement agencies with the equipment needed for traffic enforcement. Through this initiative, there’s been more than $5.5 million worth of equipment provided to about 100 law enforcement agencies throughout Georgia.
According to Jesup Police Capt. Luther Hires, who is also the coordinator of the Coastal Area Traffic Enforcement Network for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, 42,000 people are killed on our roadways annually.
Dallas said 60 percent of emergency room admissions are due to traffic incidents and 60 percent of law enforcement officers who are killed while on duty die as in traffci accidents.
Martin said he hopes the radar gun will help reduce the number of wrecks on Highway 196 and let the community know the sheriff’s office will be out there to enforce the law.
“We’ve had some horrific accidents on that road and we need to educate the community that this is not a speedway, and we are watching,” he said.
The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office was picked after a recent study found Highway 196 had a significant history of speeding violations, wrecks and fatalities.
According to Dallas, Highway 196 is as one of Georgia’s most deadly roads.
Another reason Liberty County was chosen is because of its military population and being a rural area.
Dallas said many times rural police and sheriff’s offices do not have the money to buy the equipment and often people tend to think that because it is a rural road they can speed. He also said a high military population meant the areas was, more often than not, populated with young men who have a tendency to speed.
This is the first handheld model in Liberty County. It allows for safer use on a roadway like Highway 196 where construction, heavy traffic and lack of significant shoulders make it hard for officers to use vehicle-mounted radar guns without placing themselves and the public in harm’s way.
The device is estimated worth $1,500.
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