Police speeding tickets triple in August

By Mark Rivera

According to a recent University study, police vans equipped with radar cameras are the best method of enforcing the speed limit. Still, Champaign police seem to be doing well on their own.

From August 2007 to August 2008, the number of speeding violations issued by the Champaign Police Department in August has increased by 201, about 3.6 times greater than last year, according to a Champaign Police Department press release.

In part, this is because of an Illinois Department of Transportation, or IDOT, speeding grant given to the Champaign police in September 2007.

The grant was designed to allow the City of Champaign to rehire additional officers to increase resources for traffic enforcement, according to the press release.

However, the increase in speeding citations may be caused by good weather and officers monitoring more problem areas, not by an increase in the overall police force, said Sgt. Dave Griffet of the Champaign Police Department.

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He said the department gives officers the option to work “grant slots,” areas of Champaign where traffic violations and accidents have been high.

These four grant slot areas are Windsor Road, from Neil Street to Staley Road; Church Street, from Prospect Avenue to Mattis Avenue; Bradley Avenue, from Prospect Avenue to Duncan Road; and Neil Street, from Windsor Road to Interstate Drive, Griffet said.

While monitoring grant slots, officers traditionally reimbursed for their time by tax payers are instead reimbursed with grant money from the IDOT speeding grant.

Griffet said that now the Champaign Police Department is trying to extend the full amount of money they received from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“Last year, we had to give some of that money back,” he said.

Part of the reason for less speeding citations last year was because officers weren’t working as many hours in grant slots, Griffet said. Officers are put into grant slots more often this year, he added