GREENWOOD, Ind – Greenwood Police say they’re taking a lot of questions about technology the department has been using for several years but has largely gone unnoticed.
“We’ve been kind of inundated with calls and social media requests about what the officers are doing and what they’re putting on the telephone poles,” said Greenwood Police Chief James Ison. “A lot of people are just curious, but some suspicious of some Big Brother type of stuff. It’s not.”
The curiosity centers around a black box attached to a light pole along Greenwood’s Meadowview Lane. The street passes through several neighborhoods and also serves as a connector between Main Street and Fry Road.
“Maybe it’s something the city’s doing or something,” said nearby resident Thomas Wilson. “I had no clue what it was.”
“We saw two policemen putting it up there and everything and there’s been all sorts of wild ideas on what it was exactly,” said neighbor Jim McCartney.
Social media posts about the box asked if the device was recording video or license plates, and whether drivers should expect to get a speeding ticket in the mail.
Although it’s not recording specific information about any particular vehicle, the box is recording traffic speeds and volume. The Greenwood Police Department has two of the Jamar Technologies radar boxes. The devices are installed in particular parts of the city in response to neighborhood speeding complaints.
“As spring approaches, and more kids are out playing, people notice speeding vehicles through the neighborhood,” Ison said. “We’ll get online requests for radar patrols or calls for radar patrols.”
Residents who live along and near Meadowview Lane say speeding is a constant problem.
“All the time, see people flying through here,” McCartney said. “Sometimes 50 miles an hour, it seems. We all have kids and we’re worried somebody’s going to have an accident sometime.”
The speed limit is 25, 30 and I know for a fact I’ve seen people go as fast as 60, 65,” Wilson added. “The last thing I want to do is get news from my dad saying your niece got hit by a car.”
This week, the radar box is collecting data along Meadowview Lane to determine how serious the speeding problem is. If 10-percent of vehicles that pass through the area are doing 10 miles per hour or more over the speed limit, it’s considered a high priority enforcement zone and Greenwood Police will concentrate patrols in the area.
“If there is a problem, it also tells us the best times to enforce the speed limit in those areas, so it allows us to put our officers out there when they’re going to be most effective.”
The department has two of the Jamar radar boxes, which were purchased in 2016 for just under $4,000 each. The investment is intended to allow Greenwood Police to patrol and utilize resources as efficiently as possible.
“if we have an area that the box shows does not have a speeding problem, that’s more time that we can focus on the areas where it’s telling us that we do,” Ison said.
Ison says he’s not sure why the boxes, which have largely gone unnoticed for several years, suddenly prompted so many questions this week.
“Unless they see the officer actually installing it, they don’t even notice them on the utility poles,” Ison said. “And they’re only on there for four to five days.”