You might have caught the story about the Park Avenue Neighborhood group
lying in wait for speeders last week. They were clocking violators, snapping
photos of their cars and license plates, and making a list to send to the
city. By now, some of the people who blew through the 25-mile-per hour speed
limit probably have letters from Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell suggesting
that they not do that again.
If you read that story, bet you were thinking, “Dang. How do we get one of
those radar guns?”
You work with the Tacoma Neighborhood Speed Watch, that’s how. The city has
four speed guns available for neighborhood groups.
The first step is to collect signatures on a petition. The second is a
formal application to use the speed gun in a specific area. To get the
petition and the application, write to Jennifer Kammerzell, Neighborhood
Programs, 747 Market St. Room 520, Tacoma, WA 98402-3769. You can also call
her at (253)591-5511.
“When the neighbors are ready, I’ll attend their meeting,” Kammerzell said.
“I’ll bring the gun and show them how to use it.”
Before you can get your hands on the speed gun you must be 21, and agree to
be careful with the delicate piece of equipment. You have to promise to work
with a partner and not to “chase, stop or apprehend drivers,” or pretend
that you are a police officer, Also, no throwing stuff, yelling insults or
making rude gestures.
Before you start, you must alert the police department when you and your
partner are going out, and where you’re going. And you have to keep a log of
the leadfoots, their vehicles, speed, plate numbers, time and location.
It’s tougher than it sounds, definitely a two-person job. But the more you
practice, the more people get letters.