How Kane County is going to learn where to put deputies to catch speeding drivers

 
 
Updated 9/17/2021 11:44 AM

When drivers on Kane County roads pass a speed trailer, the flashing numbers are a friendly reminder to motorists going beyond the speed limit.

A tentative plan approved Thursday could transform those trailers into an early warning system that would follow up on that reminder with an actual sheriff's deputy with flashing lights.

 

The Kane County Board's judicial and public safety committee approved the use of a $34,000 state grant to purchase upgraded speed trailers that will now record the speeds of cars on county roads. The sheriff's office will use that data to determine when and where to place deputies when the numbers indicate traffic enforcement is needed.

"One of the biggest problems we have in the county is speeding and traffic-related," Undersheriff Pat Gengler said to the committee Thursday.

"This is going to allow us to see really how fast these cars are going and target our enforcement," Gengler said. "It will also validate citizens' complaints that say this is how fast people are going through our neighborhoods. We can put a deputy there to write five tickets a day, but that doesn't capture what's going on out there when our deputy isn't there."

Sheriff's office stats show 190 driving complaints, 75 hit-and-run incidents, 238 accidents with injuries and 710 accidents involving property damage so far this year.

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"Right now, it's more of an education thing," Gengler said. "When people see one of those flashing signs, they say, 'Oh, I really am speeding,' and a lot of those people slow down. But we don't know what that speed was before people slow down. And there will be people who disregard it and keep going."

Gengler indicated logging and tracking those speeds will show where deputies can be most effective in writing tickets.

The plan still needs final approval from the full county board.

The committee also gave initial approval to a $4 million upgrade to the video camera systems at the county jail and juvenile detention center. The existing systems are 14 years old, are no longer serviceable, and leave blind spots throughout both facilities, according to documents detailing the upgrade.

If approved by the full county board, the plan will use federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay for the project. Schaumburg-based Convergint Technologies, LLC will install the upgraded system. The company did similar upgrades for the Atlanta Police Department, the San Bernadino Sheriff's Department in California and 127 federal prison sites operated by the FBI, according to the qualifications submitted by the company to the county.

The project will take 275 days to complete once it begins.

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