Saskatoon councillor wants to arm volunteers with radar guns to curb speeding

Ward 3 Coun. David Kirton.

With the City of Saskatoon not lowering residential speed limits to 40 km/h, Ward 3 Coun. David Kirton proposes a Speed Watch program.

“Basically take Neighbourhood Watch and give them a radar gun,” said Kirton, standing on the busy corner of Diefenbaker and Centennial Drives in the city’s Pacific Heights neighbourhood.

Kirton said volunteers armed with a radar gun and a camera would monitor residential areas where they believe there’s a speeding problem.

Vancouver Police and RCMP detachments have also adopted Speed Watch programs.

“They would (capture) cars going by, if they catch someone speeding on the radar they take a picture of their license plate with the camera and send that into police,” he said.

From there Kirton said police would send a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle caught speeding and warn them they are being watched. If the vehicle is spotted speeding again, police may pay the registered owner a visit.

“I think that’s pretty powerful and I think a motorist speeding in a neighborhood is probably going to slow down if they know we’re watching them and the police know what’s happening,” Kirton said.

Speed Watch also gives police a better way to track where they need to enforce, Kirton said.

This week, Kirton put forward a motion during the city’s transportation committee asking the city’s administration to look into setting up a Speed Watch program.

The city would also consult with SGI to fund the radar detectors, cameras and high-visibility vests for volunteers.

Kirton said ideally the community associations would help recruit volunteers.

“A lot of us speed inadvertently, our feet get too heavy and that’s what those speed boards do. The same thing with Speed Watch, if your foot starts to get heavy and you get a letter from the police, hopefully you’ll slow down.”