Law Enforcement Agencies
Missouri Sheriff’s Dept. Applies Data to Resource Management: How Platte County is Focusing on New Tech to Serve & Protect
When you manage the patrol division of a large U.S. law enforcement agency, you need to know you’re putting your officers where they’re needed most ‒ and at the right time. That’s exactly why Captain Joseph King is focused on being able to identify when there’s a problem and putting the resources there, rather than guessing.
King is the patrol division commander for the Platte County, MO, Sheriff’s Office, which encompasses the Kansas City metropolitan area, Kansas City International Airport, and 13 municipal police departments that serve a population of more than 100,000 people.
“I’m trying to utilize all our resources as best as we can,” King explains. “When I have a piece of equipment that’s got wheels ‒ and I know this happens with most sheriff’s offices ‒ I’m expected to park it somewhere.” One example is the department’s old speed trailer, which has been in operation for quite some time and requires a large parking spot, which limits its application opportunities.
As King explains it, the main problem with the speed trailer was that it produced a report of raw data: date-time-speed, date-time-speed. But there wasn’t any context or correlation to help him see when a problem was occurring or what the problem was; and the department didn’t have the time or personnel to determine those patterns. It made responding to speed complaints in neighborhoods difficult, and actively addressing those complaints almost impossible.
“I need equipment that allows me to get real data and then direct resources into those areas at the right times. Our trailer was a useful tool, but it didn’t fit every scenario. So I began asking, ‘Can we retrofit our trailer to do this?’” King says.
Could a driver speed sign be the answer?
Working with 13 municipal police departments means there’s a good bit of overlap in providing services in King’s jurisdiction. His folks also work closely with highway safety and federal enforcement officers in the area. Collaborating with that many law enforcement organizations has made King well aware of the impact radar speed signs can have
Armed with the knowledge that something new was needed, King started researching options to get the updates ‒ and especially ‒ the useful data he was after.
After reviewing the options, he chose a portable radar speed sign instead of updating the speed trailer. “I selected Radarsign as my recommendation to the sheriff, based on our needs and recommendations from neighboring agencies.”
When time, space, portability and cost are all factors, a modular driver speed sign like the TC-400 from Radarsign ticks all the boxes. One person can easily install or relocate the sign in about a minute. Mounting the sign on existing poles means it can be used in hundreds of places where a bulky speed trailer simply won’t fit. And it costs considerably less than a trailer, saving organizational resources.
In addition, radar speed signs are scientifically proven to change driver behavior, providing both an immediate and long-term solution. Data confirms a consistent 4 mph reduction in average speeds and a 52 percent reduction in the number of drivers traveling more than 5 mph above the speed limit in many cases. More than two years after installation, data indicates a long-term shift in driver behavior in areas using the signs.
The TC-400 King chose is a portable, battery powered driver feedback sign that can be used in multiple locations, allowing for same-day response to speeding complaints, as well as a regular rotation of the sign for ongoing traffic calming.
The human side of data collection
In addition to helping his team assign officers to the areas where they’re most needed for traffic enforcement, King aims to motivate his officers to keep the public informed about what the department is doing for their safety.
“Motivating people can be a challenge in the best of times,” King relates. But it’s even harder when you send officers at the wrong time of day to a problem area, and there’s nothing for them to do.
“I’ve been in the department 23 years, and I know that being sent somewhere because there’s been a complaint doesn’t mean my time will be useful,” he says. “That’s what the radar speed sign data gives me.” It means more satisfaction for both officers and the general public.
King works with officers on downloading the data delivered by the Streetsmart software.
The other side of the coin is increasing the sheriff department’s visibility with the people they serve. Citizens need to know that officers listen and respond to their concerns, which is why there’s a social media component built into most projects. Particularly in areas that receive frequent complaints, the department openly shares what it’s doing — and the data collected in their areas — with residents and encourages their feedback and participation.
Next steps: Active traffic calming
Always looking for ways to improve his department’s efficiency and effectiveness, King’s turned his attention to using the traffic data in other ways. He’s looking into longer-term placement of the sign to see if and how drivers react once they know the sign is there.
The agency is also looking to the sign to provide insights in other ways. For example, Platte County has a stretch of roadway where people “tend to drive highway speeds” that are well above the posted speed limit. Officers set the driver speed sign facing one direction for a period of time, then the other direction for the same length of time. Once the data’s been analyzed, they compare results to see which direction created the biggest change in driving behavior.
And ultimately, it comes down to serving the public. King and his department seek more ways to engage more people, and see where they get the most response. “People don’t think when they’re in a hurry that that’s dangerous,” explains King. “We just want them to consider their driving behavior no matter where they are.”
Radarsign addresses small town traffic issues ‘more effectively than speed bumps' (Rutherfordton, NC)
Rutherfordton, population 4,200, nestles in the western foothills of North Carolina between Asheville, Spartanburg and Charlotte. It’s a town rich in history, founded in 1787.
In 2018, the community was concerned about speeders; conventional wisdom said that speed bumps were the answer. “We didn’t want to go straight to speed bumps because of the time and expense involved” to install them, explains Town Manager Doug Barrick. What the city did want, however, was to address citizen complaints and calm traffic. They found Radarsign’s TC-400 portable driver speed sign to be the solution for both issues.
“This Radarsign product would allow us to really look at the traffic data,” Barrick remembers. “And what we found was that these are even more effective than speed bumps.”
From a citizen’s perspective, the city responds to complaints quickly, deploying a sign almost immediately. That builds trust and keeps all the neighbors happy — and not just the ones in favor of a speed bump. And with multiple brackets, it’s easy to move the portable signs around town as needed. “Citizen complaints dropped and, overwhelmingly, the data shows most drivers comply with the posted speed limits,” Barrick adds.
In fact, Barrick calls the TC-400 “the most effective tool that the town deploys. These signs are bullet-resistant, easy for our staff to operate, just a great all-around tool. It’s one of the best investments we’ve made outside of traditional policing in a long time.”
If your community could use a good tool for traffic calming as well as building trust with citizens, learn more about the TC-400 here or call us at 678-965-4814.
Village of Wilmette Chooses Radarsign for Flexibility, Portability, Response to Residents
The Village of Wilmette, IL, borders Lake Michigan along Chicago’s scenic North Shore.
Traditionally, the village relied on plate counters for traffic calming, but it became frustrating when the devices couldn’t operate effectively because of on-street parking, causing skewed readings instead of accurate information. Then residents began requesting driver speed signs, noting they’d seen them in neighboring communities.
After researching several brands, the village selected the portable Radarsign model TC-400, knowing they’d be the quickest and easiest signs to move around town, and they could be mounted high enough above parked vehicles to capture accurate traffic data.
The village engineers were pleased that Radarsign’s Streetsmart software didn’t require a cloud license; they download their data directly from the signs and pull it into reports. Other benefits included portability — they move the signs frequently, based on resident requests, active construction zones, school zones and detour routes — and longevity of battery power. While they looked at solar initially, Wilmette has a lot of tree coverage, so it wasn’t the best fit for their needs.
They monitor data on a monthly basis, communicating with residents about whether speeding is or isn’t an issue on their particular streets. And if they see anything out of the ordinary, they pass the information along to the police department for enforcement.
Sound familiar? If your town is struggling with similar issues, check out the Radarsign TC-400 here or call us at 678-965-4814.
Texas Town Works With Residents to Deter Speeders (Seabrook, TX)
When you’ve finally taken enough complaint calls that you can’t dismiss them any longer, it’s time to take action. And that’s just what a community along the Texas Gulf Coast did.
The director of Public Works said complaints about speeding in neighborhoods were escalating. The city wanted to respond to residents’ needs, and also verify what they were being told — because it’s hard to judge how quickly a car is moving without some way to record and then look at the data.
That investigation quickly led to Radarsign, specifically the TC-400 portable driver speed sign and the larger TC-600S full matrix radar speed sign.
Since the initial purchase in 2019, the director said his city has expanded the Radarsign program, adding one or two new signs each year. The city budgets for one sign for “trouble spots” along public rights of ways that need stepped-up traffic calming. Additional signs come from a program that shares 50% of the costs with HOAs; and the city agrees to monitor and maintain the sign.
Without having to leave the office, Public Works staff can view uploaded data from the signs using the Radarsign Cloud network, then compares it against previous months and years — looking for patterns that might have changed. They share reports with the police department, which determines if enforcement or patrols are needed in those areas. And the data also goes back to the neighborhoods, so they know exactly how fast drivers are taking to their streets.
The town plans to continue adding another sign or two each year for the foreseeable future.
How the City of West Peoria Is Using the Radarsign TC-400
In February of 2020, the city of West Peoria, IL, purchased a Radarsign TC-400.
That purchase was in response to a growing number of complaints from residents that drivers were speeding on their streets with estimated speeds at 70 miles per hour. Understandably, city leadership needed to put those comments to the test and validate the concerns.
After researching several vendors, West Peoria selected Radarsign. A number things were considered including price, user-friendliness and ease of installation.
Once the sign was delivered, the city’s Public Works department took responsibility and moved it around every two weeks or so. West Peoria is 80 percent residential, so the sign is usually operating in a residential area.
The city uses Radarsign’s Streetsmart software to track activity and speeds with the sign, running regular reports that administrators review. When the data reveals speeding problems, the sheriff’s office steps in, placing officers at the right time and location — maximizing their time and efforts.
Residents definitely like the sign. Importantly, they see that their city leaders hear and respond to their concerns.
And what about the cascade of complaints? These days they’re getting more requests for the sign than complaints about speeders.
Sound familiar? If your town is struggling with similar issues, check out the Radarsign TC-400 here or call us at 678-965-4814.
Businesses | Commercial | Industrial
Radarsign Helps Pace Parking Lots at Major Automobile Manufacturer Facility (Hyundai)
If you’ve ever been around right before shift change, you know that lots of people get antsy to get home — and sometimes they don’t make the safest decisions about how fast to drive.
A major auto manufacturer was having that particular issue in late 2019. With three shifts daily, that meant 1,200-1,500 people leaving the plant and the same number arriving in a short window of time. Three times each day, thousands of employees would speed through the parking lots and along an access road for the parking lots.
After a few near misses and some folks getting bumped in the parking lots, it was time to take action. In the interest of keeping everyone as safe as possible, the security department purchased two TC-600S driver feedback signs from Radarsign as a visual to let employees know when they were speeding. They considered three or four other manufacturers, but the package from Radarsign — with Streetsmart software to collect and analyze their traffic data, colored strobes and the ability to personalize messages — was the best fit for their needs.
The results have been immediate and impressive: Since the signs were installed, the security department has seen a 75 percent reduction in speeding, as people became aware of how fast they’re driving. That means they’re paying attention… and that’s the point.
Radarsign has proven solutions for traffic calming in a variety of settings. Check out the Radarsign TC-600 here or call us at 678-965-4814.
Auto Auction Employs Radarsign Equipment for Safety (Manheim Omaha)
Moving cars from one location to another seems like it would be straightforward. You start the vehicle, drive it where it needs to go, then move on to the next one.
But when auto actions are your business, add in frequent vehicle deliveries plus individuals driving their own vehicles onto the lot to check out your inventory (who then become pedestrians once they park) and larger crowds, the need for safety becomes exponentially obvious.
Businesses like this have cars moving constantly,. And since safety is key to the business, speed enforcement on the property was needed — even after people left the auto lot itself, but hadn’t yet made it to the public roadway.
This company researched various vendors, quickly narrowing the list to Radarsign and one other manufacturer. The final decision: a Radarsign TC-400 portable driver speed sign was chosen because a team could quickly and easily move and mount the sign throughout the property. Here, ease of use was a priority.
Now, about a year after the purchase and, as businesses are opening up more from Covid-19 restrictions, this company is seeing a decrease in the speeds that prompted the purchase of he sign.
Radarsign has proven solutions for traffic calming in a variety of settings. check out the Radarsign TC-400 here or call us at 678-965-4814.
Neighborhoods | HOAs| Private Communities
Response to Speeding Drivers Turns into Communications Tool for Florida Development
Even paradise has its share of speeders. Just ask Wilderness Lakes Preserve, a 680-acre residential and recreational area north of Tampa Bay, FL.
With 6 acres of recreational facilities, more than 950 homes and 3 offsite parks, there are people coming and going all the time. Besides residents, there are visitors to the recreational areas, as well as people cutting through the property because of development going on around them.
The preserve had spent considerable amounts hiring off-duty and state patrol officers to keep speeding to a minimum, when they decided to add driver speed signs to the mix. They selected the TC-400 from Radarsign for its portability as well as Streetsmart software.
And they’ve found the purchase was money well spent. The signs definitely are a deterrent when drivers realize how fast they’re driving, the lodge manager tells us, and they capture people’s attention.
Every month, the lodge manager pulls reports to share with the board of directors and the local sheriff’s department. Local law enforcement evaluates the data — specific times and location of speeding– and they can strategically set patrols for enforcement if necessary. That data also ends up in the newsletter to residents, serving as a communication tool.
Perhaps your HOA or community is wondering how driver speed signs can help. check out the Radarsign TC-400 here or call us at 678-965-4814.
Radarsign Reduces the Number of Speeding Drivers in School Zone by 50%