Donation Gives Vidalia Police Another Tool to Catch Speeders

October 9, 2013

Vidalia, La., police officers soon will have a new tool to catch motorists exceeding the speed limit.

Ten dashboard-mounted police radar systems will soon be ordered and installed in city patrol cars thanks to a donation by Vidalia City Judge George Murray.

Murray gave the police department a $15,000 check last week. Those funds will be matched by $15,000 from the police department, said Chief Arthur Lewis.

The court’s donation, Murray said, comes through funds from a pre-trial diversion program, which allows first-time, non-violent offenders in Louisiana to pay fines and participate in educational classes for a dismissal of the charge.

“Those are mostly speeding, running red lights or other traffic violations,” Murray said. “Hopefully, this will help with public safety in our city.

“If residents know more officers have the radars, maybe they won’t be as likely to speed.”

The Natchez-Democrat reports the new radars will be in addition to the five currently installed in some patrol units and several hand-held radars.

“Before, officers would have to share the units with the radars already in the cars,” Lewis said. “This is going to help us expand the tools we have available to help deter accidents in our city.”

In May, Lewis ordered a crackdown on traffic violations hoping it would curb the 75 traffic accidents that had occurred in the previous three months.

Since his officers began more strictly enforcing traffic laws, such as speed limits, red lights and stop signs, Lewis said accidents in Vidalia have decreased significantly.

“We’ve seen accidents go down to almost nothing and that’s what we’re most concerned with,” Lewis said. “We’re not a revenue generating department for the city, so our main goal is and always will be to protect and serve the citizens of Vidalia.”

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