Committee addresses speed control, public safety buildingThe question for Police Chief Marty Jensen at a Dec. 4 meeting of the city’s Public Safety Committee was: How many miles per hour over the speed limit can you go without getting a ticket?
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
The question for Police Chief Marty Jensen at a Dec. 4 meeting of the city’s Public Safety Committee was: How many miles per hour over the speed limit can you go without getting a ticket?
Alderperson Lori Bernard wanted to know.
She wasn’t interested in tempting fate, however. Her concern was that too many drivers are speeding on residential streets.
“It seems in a residential area our tolerance for speeding should be lower,” Bernard said.
Jensen’s report on the placement of the police department’s radar speed sign on Ninth Street for a 24-hour period prompted the discussion.
He said the average speed of the 3,000 northbound vehicles that were clocked was 26 mph. The number of vehicles going faster than the 25 mph limit was 1,700, Jensen said, and 57 were recorded going 10 mph or more over the limit.
One vehicle was clocked at more than 20 mph over the limit.
As to Bernard’s question, Jensen said police officers are allowed discretion over whether or not to issue a ticket to a speeder.
Some officers will ticket drivers going 7 mph over the limit every time, he said. Others might let drivers going 10 to 12 mph over the limit off with a warning.
“We want people to comply. We don’t want to be overbearing,” Jensen said.
He said he has stopped speeding drivers only to learn that they were on their way to the hospital because of an emergency.
Jensen, however, did say that he talks to his patrol officers about streets where speeding is a problem and encourages them to crack down on it.
Bernard said she would like to see more consistency in the enforcement of speed limits.
Jensen also reported that the police department has received a $10,000 grant from the state that will be used to encourage compliance with the state’s seatbelt law. The money will be used for officer overtime and a handheld laser radar unit.
Committee chair Lee Wyland reported that the city has received proposals from a dozen architectural firms offering to assess the city’s public safety building needs and recommend a building program.
Wyland said that he, Mayor Dean Knudson and City Administrator Devin Willi would interview four of the firms and recommend one of them to contract with.
Jensen told Wyland he had heard rumors that the planning for a new facility for the police and fire departments was going to die.
“That’s why we’re a little concerned,” Jensen said, speaking also for Fire Chief Jim Frye and St. Croix EMS Chief Eric Christensen.
“No, it’s moving forward,” Wyland replied. “Maybe not as fast as you would like.”