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TWINSBURG -- Any motorist who has driven long enough has probably seen roadside digital readouts that show how fast a vehicle is going.
The Twinsburg Police Department recently purchased two radar signs that take the readouts a step farther, with digital cameras that take pictures and monitor traffic patterns.
They are not, police say, enforcement cameras "like you see in Cleveland," Twinsburg Lt. Tom Mason said during a May 2 town hall meeting, organized by the mayor's office. Unlike Cleveland's "cop-in-a-box," information gleaned from Twinsburg cameras is not used as probable cause for a speeding ticket.
"We don't use these to make arrests," Mason said.
They can, however, be used to target specific problem areas and even specific drivers, Mason said.
"Say you see a red SUV speeding through an intersection over a period of time, at a specific time, we can send one of our guys to that location," Mason said.
Police Chief Christopher Noga called the signs "another effective tool" that allows the department to "determine where to enforce." Noga said speed signs have been around for more than 25 years, but improvements have made them easier to use.
"The biggest difference is that changes in technology have allowed manufacturers to make the units smaller and more easily portable," Noga said. "Twenty years ago, we actually had a speed trailer that had to be towed to a location in order to be used; today we have the same type of unit but in a smaller package and with the ability to save data for analysis, something we couldn't do in the past."
The city purchased two signs at $4,500 each, and started using them last October. The cost includes the software, cloud-based technology, batteries and other accessories. The city hopes to acquire two more signs this year.
"We hope to establish a rotation through the entire city," Mason said.