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Longboat Key Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 1 year ago

Longboat police purchase traffic monitoring device

The department hopes the technology, which measures the number of vehicles and the speed they travel, will help focus enforcement efforts
by: Bret Hauff Staff Writer

Longboat Key Police Department hopes a new piece of technology, no bigger than a large lunchbox, will help focus its efforts on traffic enforcement.

A traffic-monitoring device, which the department bought for $2,500 using money donated at a Resort at Longboat Key Club putting challenge, has been measuring traffic patterns and speeds on Broadway Street for a week, said Police Chief Pete Cumming.

And it’s not a camera, in that it doesn’t record images for the department to use — it just records traffic data, Cumming said. There’s not even a lens on the device.

“It’s just technology,” Cumming said. “It’s more efficient than putting an officer out there.”

The department used a similar device in November to monitor traffic near the intersection of Poinsettia Avenue and Cedar Street in the Village.

District 5 Commissioner Ed Zunz, in an email dated Nov. 29, said he had received complaints about speeding cars in the area and had asked then-Town Manager Dave Bullock to do something about it.

So Cumming, who said he had also heard from a “chronic complainer” on Poinsettia Avenue, asked the Sarasota County Office if he could borrow a device similar to the one his department just bought.

The device monitored 625 cars in six days with an average speed of 14 miles per hour, according to Zunz’s November email.

The success Cumming said he saw with the device he’d borrowed from the Sheriff’s Office convinced him the department needed one of its own. The technology will help the department verify, or debunk, complaints about speeding traffic on the island.

“It would better the island by telling me where I need to put my resources more accurately,” Cumming said. “If [speeding is] a problem, now I don’t have to worry about what time of day it’s happening.”

I’m a Longboat Key Staff Reporter. I write stories about how decisions and events affect the island, its leaders and its citizens. I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where I wrote for The Boston Globe. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 333.

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