City police recruiting local eyes

The Port Orchard Police Department is accepting applications from Port Orchard residents who would like to help enforce the speed limit in their neighborhoods.

“It’s modeled after others around the country,” said Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend of the new program. “It’s had impact in other places.”

Volunteers will undergo training on how to use a police radar gun and sit where the department has received complaints of speeding vehicles.

“Volunteers will go through a training session on the operations of the radar guns, dos and don’ts,” Townsend said.

Townsend said volunteers will be recording numbers — that’s all. They will wear jackets marking them as police volunteers and use their own vehicles.

Once a volunteer has identified a speeding car, the license plate, the car’s make and the type of the infraction will be logged.

Later, the car’s owner will receive a “friendly reminder” in the mail advising them of the speed limit on the road they were caught committing the traffic infraction.

“The letter carries no legal weight, but simply advises the motorist that someone is watching,” Townsend emphasized.

Townsend said perhaps volunteers will be used inside the department to look up registered owners of speeding cars and send out letters.

Trouble spots for speeding within the city include Sidney Avenue between Bay and Tremont streets, Mile Hill Drive and near South Kitsap High School, Townsend said.

According to Townsend, the letters mailed out will go to the registered owner of the vehicle, not necessarily the person who was driving it.

“I think it’s a good idea because there is a lot of speeding,” said Port Orchard resident Fred Chang. “I think people who knew there was a record of their speeding would be less inclined to speed. I’m glad the department is reaching out to the community.”

Volunteer applicants must be Port Orchard residents and pass a criminal background check.

Applications are available at the Port Orchard Police Department on 546 Bay Street during city business hours.

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