Speeders beware: The Department of Public Safety has added two radar units to measure the speed of vehicles and catch those disobeying posted speed limits.

“We have received complaints about traffic safety concerns around our hospitals and in some of our housing areas, in particular,” said Capt. Joe Piersante, commander of police services.

“(The radar units) provide us with another tool to help us maintain a safe and secure environment for everyone on our campus,” DPS Director William Bess said.

Piersante said that many people who use the roads on North Campus to avoid busier streets on Central Campus do not comply with posted speed limits or properly yield to pedestrians. He said that one of the functions of the radar will be to address these safety concerns.

Previously, officers relied on educated guesses to pull people over for speeding, DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown said. Patrol cars kept pace with potential offenders to gauge their speeds. However, it is difficult for officers to submit such imprecise measurements in a court of law.

“Now with the radar units we’ll have an objective measurement tool that courts find significantly dependable,” Brown said. “The results of the measurements are usually strongly upheld in courts of law if they’re administered by certified operators.”

Ten DPS officers are already trained to use the radar units; the rest will be trained this year, Brown said.

A $5,000 grant from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning paid for the units. Certified radar unit trainers from other police agencies helped train the officers at no cost to DPS.

No officer will be dedicated to full-time radar enforcement, Brown said.

Some radar units in other police fleets are handheld, but DPS’s units are mounted on the dashboard, Brown said.

Possible penalties for speeding include civil infractions, fines, court costs ranging from $120 to $240 and up to four points against an offender’s driver’s license.

Recent additions to DPS’s crime-fighting arsenal also include two motorcycles in 2004 and a canine program in 2002.

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