The Board of Selectmen in Whitman reviews portable speed radar as Whitman Police try new ways to slow drivers down
WHITMAN — Motorists might not always see signs of it right now, but Whitman Police have found a new method for monitoring traffic speed in residential areas.
The new speed display unit augments the trailer unit often seen around town.
“Now we have the ability to mount this radar unit onto a pole, a tree — anywhere — and get it into neighborhoods where they’ve been having some issues,” Police Chief Scott Benton told the Board of Selectmen during his monthly report Tuesday, Oct. 20. “There’s a bunch of different things we can do with it to record speeds. We can put it up and record the speed, even though it’s not showing you the speed, so we get a good indication of how fast people are going.”
Selectmen Chairman Carl Kowalski asked, partly in jest, if that approach is fair. Benton assured the board that it is.
“I kind of like it,” Benton said. “It gives us a better indication of exactly what the speed is in that area and then we can turn it on and let people know.”
He said it has already been used in several areas and is working out well Benton encouraged residents who would like it brought to their neighborhood to visit the department’s web page and email Safety Officer Christopher Lee to request it.
Benton also noted the year’s call volume for the year to-date is 2,117 over the same period last year. He noted crimes related to the opioid crisis continue to be a factor in that increase.
“I don’t want to blame it for everything, but certainly it has an impact,” he said. “It has an impact on calls for service. It has an impact on calls for crime, as well.”
A recent arrest of a shoplifting suspect charged with stealing more than $2,000 from a Stoughton Stop & Shop as well as more than $600 from the Whitman Stop & Shop and another of the chain’s stores in Abington was “substance abuse-motivated,” according to Benton.
There have been 43 overdoses in Whitman so far this year, six fatal. Narcan was administered 36 times in those incidents.
He also reminded residents that, with the holiday season approaching, they should take precautions to avoid theft of delivered packages.
“I would urge you to have someone come by and get your packages,” he said. “It’s easy pickings, that’s all I can tell you. I could say put a camera in, but we’re going to be chasing somebody.”
During the meeting Selectmen also accepted a Disclosure by a Non-Elected Employee of Financial Interest and Determination by Appointing Authority for Police Lt. Christine May-Stafford. The form was described as a routine notification as she may occasionally work the same shift as he husband Sgt. Andrew Stafford.
“The appearance of a conflict may arise, however she doesn’t assign overtime or duties above and beyond the routine shifts,” said Town Administrator Frank Lynam. “It’s simply to satisfy the law as it pertains to an appearance of conflict.”