By Darrell Todd Maurina
People who like to speed near Glenarm Drive and Arciniega Drive will soon be in for a surprise. Responding to complaints from neighbors whose children walk to Zia Elementary School, Clovis police have agreed to issue residents a radar gun they can use to report drivers exceeding the posted 25 mph limit.
Although speeding drivers will get a letter from the police, it won’t include a traffic citation because the neighbors aren’t sworn law enforcement officers.
“We send out a letter that your vehicle was observed on such and such street at such and such date and time and was observed at such and such speed,” said Capt. Dan Blair of Clovis Police Department.
Blair said police began a program several years ago in which residents could check out a radar gun, though it’s not been used recently.
“There are guidelines (residents) have to go by. The only thing they do is write stuff down and forward it to us,” Blair said.
While residents sometimes think cars are driving faster than they actually are, Blair said the area has a real problem with speeding. During a recent spot check, Blair and another officer wrote about a dozen tickets within 45 minutes.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Clovis Traffic Committee, Assistant City Manager Joe Thomas said city administrators and police would both be working together to address the speeding complaints raised by citizens and plan to do more than just mail out warning letters.
“We’re going to look at increasing police enforcement and make sure all the regulatory signs that are supposed to be there actually are there,” Thomas said.
Committee member Lonnie Leslie, who is also an assistant superintendent with the Clovis school district, said the issue is broader than helping students at Zia Elementary trying to walk to school.
Those same students also live and play in a neighborhood where the street isn’t built to handle heavy traffic but is used by some drivers as a quick route to get between Prince and Norris streets.
“This committee is responding to this neighborhood, not just a school issue,” Leslie said. “They live in an area with no sidewalks.”
Blair said the solution for drivers is relatively simple: Don’t use streets that weren’t designed for heavy traffic.
“In areas like that with no sidewalks and a lot of kids, people need to slow down and use the roads like 21st and Prince that were made for heavier traffic,” Blair said.