Police get new tool to catch speeders

By Caroline Moses - bio | email

BAKER, LA (WAFB) - Speeders beware - there's a new tool to catch you breaking the law.  The Baker Police Department is trying something in addition to speed vans.  Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps is putting speed trailers out, in addition to the speed vans they already use. It's part of his plan to tame drivers with heavy feet.

Chief Knaps says he's even okay with making Baker more like cities known to some as "speed traps."

"When you go through Krotz Springs you slow down because you know it's there. We want people to know when you come through Baker just slow down. There's a lot of nice things to see," said Knaps.

Chief Knaps says Baker made about $100,000 from speed van tickets last year.  This year that number will be about half.  Knaps says that's actually good for Baker.

"Driver behavior has been corrected in Baker, and we hope it will even correct more," said Knaps.

Since the city adopted speed vans two years ago Chief Knaps says accidents have decreased by 75 percent, and there have been no deaths.  It's why he's working to add more ammo to their traffic enforcement tool chest.

"It's a very green machine. It doesn't run all the time like the van does. It's a little easier to get around and set up," said Knaps about their new speed trailer.

The new speed trailer on Highway 19 is powered by a diesel generator and can run for 45 days straight.  It's equipped with video and still cameras, a radar, a flash, and video surveillance in case the machine is tampered with.  Knaps says it doesn't need a person's presence at all.

"We move them all around," said Knaps.

One local driver says that doesn't seem fair.

"I think it's a scam really.  You can't even see it half the time and then they hide it behind trees and bushes and different things," said driver Mykael Stewart.

Other drivers say they like the idea.

"Just because you're not seeing them doesn't mean you shouldn't follow the law," said Fredrick Ellis.

Knaps agrees.  He says as long as the trailer helps tame drivers it's an asset, not an enemy.

"If you don't want to see a money pit created, drive 45 miles per hour when you come through this highway in Baker and it won't take your picture," said Knaps.

Knaps says he likes the new device so much he plans to replace all of Baker's speed vans with the new trailers.  Zachary is working on doing the same.

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