Thursday, October 10, 2013
If Goose Creek motorists see a pair of bug-shaped, mechanical eyes staring at them they have not driven upon the set of a science fiction movie, but rather are being monitored by a new Goose Creek Police Department tool that checks speed.
On a recent morning in front of the Marguerite H. Brown Municipal Center, GCPD traffic officer Dariusz Ambroziak raised the new binocular-like radar gun to his eyes to monitor traffic.
The device measures distance between itself and the moving vehicle at which it is pointed.
For the past decade GCPD has been using speed measuring devices known as LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), commonly referred to as a laser unit, according to GCPD Capt. John Grainger.
The binocular-type configuration, however, is new to GCPD as it is retiring older versions that had a handle and aiming window on top similar to a big pistol with a scope on top, Grainger said.
It measures the speed of moving objects similar to RADAR guns but uses light that is not visible to the human eye in lieu of traditional radio waves that RADAR units emit, Grainger said.
The new binocular-type LIDAR replaced a unit that was unserviceable, according to Grainger.
“As time passes with the units the repairs become more costly than new units,” Grainger said.
Traffic patrol officers check out the LIDAR from the office before going on patrol, according to Grainger.
Goose Creek Clerk of Court Erica Fann said the city issues three levels of speeding tickets:
• 2 points, $81.88 fine, (9 mph over limit)
• 4 points, $133 - $185 fine, (10 - 25 mph over limit)
• 6 points, $445 fine, (25 mph and over)
Fann advises those who received tickets to come to municipal court early and speak with the officer. Some cases listed as “dismissed for plea” are usually rewritten to “careless operation,” which carries a smaller fine.
“By South Carolina law we can stop for one mile above the speed limit,” Grainger said. “It’s an absolute speed state. Our officers are reasonable for citizens. We take time, locale and weather into sight.”
Between January and July, 110 speeding tickets were written. Of those, municipal judges issued guilty charges to 60 drivers, according to court records. Others were dismissed for a plea agreement or compliance.
Between January and July, nearly $2,000 was collected from tickets. As of Aug. 22, motorists with guilty charges still owed the city nearly $6,000 for their speeding tickets issued between January and July, according to court records.