YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A new initiative by the Youngstown Police Department equips concerned citizens and block watch groups with police radar guns to stop a problem that traffic investigators say is speeding out of control.
Operation Tranquil Streets is an intensified effort to restore traffic tranquility to local neighborhoods and highways of Youngstown by addressing issues that include speeding, pedestrian safety, red light violations and unlicensed and suspended drivers.
YPD has signed up close to a dozen people so far for the first class, and the Commander of the Traffic Unit, Detective-Sergeant Anita Davis demonstrated how the program would work on Cooper Street near Murray in the city on Monday.
This particular location has a problem with people who exit Interstate 680 and fail to slow down in the residential area. Melva Day who has lived on Cooper Street for more than 20 years and is active in the block watch says, "It's not just cars, we have trucks, we have busses coming down here. A few years back we had a Head-Start Bus come down here, and they clocked in at 55 miles an hour with children on the bus."
Sergeant Davis says once the concerned citizens and block watches are trained on how to use the radar gun, they will be given a brightly colored vest and log sheets. Citizens will go out in groups and record pertinent information on any individual speeding, including a license plate number and description of the car.
The private citizens will not have any police authority to give you a warning or a ticket, but they will provide their information to police and you will receive a warning in the mail.
Youngstown police officers will be trained on a new laser unit known as TruCAM that will not only clock the speed of a motorist, but it will also videotape the vehicle and that information can be used in court to back up the officers citation. The city of Youngstown and Columbus police are the only agencies in the state to use a TruCAM unit.
Detective-Sergeant Anita Davis says, "We have several places throughout the city that are just notorious as far as speeding. It's just something that we have to get under control. Six people have died in traffic crashes this year, that's as many deaths on the road as there have been murders."
If you would like to sign up or find out more about Operation Tranquil Streets just contact the Youngstown Police Traffic Unit at (330) 742-8926.