By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — Drivers traveling south on Third Street will see a new radar in front of Columbia schools. The radar was placed near Columbia Middle School and Columbia Elementary School Friday morning.
It is one of two radars the Logansport Police Department will soon have.
The LPD received $13,058 with a Safe Routes to School grant to go toward two mobile radars, which are about $6,865 each. The second radar is expected to arrive Monday and will be placed near Fairview Elementary.
Because the radars were purchased with the grant, they can only be placed at a school, though they can be moved back and forth between different local schools.
The radar is important, LPD Police Chief Mike Clark said.
“They’re important to try to heighten the safety of kids who are walking to school, “ Clark said. “My hope is to get kids to school as safely as possible.”
The radar, which has an 18-inch display screen, will tell drivers when they are driving over the 20 mph speed limit. The minimum speed that will show up is 15 mph.
The display will show red and blue lights when a car hits 30 mph and the maximum speed is currently programmed at 50 mph. Officers have the capability to program those numbers.
The radars use a certified Doppler radar system that is similar to handheld moving radars police officers have in their vehicles.
The radars are able to produce the speed of a vehicle as it’s coming and then will display it.
“We’re fortunate to get this grant and get these items for our community for the safety of our children,” Clark said.
Greg Grostefon and Liz Loposser, with Columbia schools, watched the radar in action Friday morning.
The radar seems to have a long range, as it senses speed before vehicles driving north on Third Street see the radar.
Grostefon, Columbia Middle School principal, said he witnessed an immediate decrease in speed.
“I’ve never seen cars go this slow,” Grostefon said. “I already can see a difference.”
The radar, which is solar powered and weighs about 1,000 pounds, will be active all the time.
Liz Loposser, Columbia Elementary School principal, said the radar will help students stay safe as they travel to school.
“It’s a huge benefit to all students walking down Third Street and across the street,” Loposser said.
Loposser noted that the working relationship between the schools and the LPD is better than it’s ever been.
“We’re thankful of the support we get,” Loposser said.
Clark said the two mobile radars will be a great start and he hopes they can build on them.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her: @PharosAES.