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Slow down! Sheriff’s Office has new radar

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The Lea County Sheriff’s Office has another tool to combat traffic violations like speeding throughout the community thanks to 32 in-car radar units.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office announced a purchase of 32 Stalker-brand in-car radar units to outfit the majority of its marked fleet using budgeted funding provided by the Lea County Commission. Each one of the radars cost $2,128 for a total of $68,096, according to Chief Deputy Tony Budrow. Radars will allow deputies to enforce more traffic violations in construction zones, school zones, rural and residential areas and for highway patrols.

“Our hopes are to get voluntary compliance, but sometimes we have to be reminded that our driving is very important; speeding and driver inattention can cause major crashes,” the sheriff’s office stated. Lea County Sheriff Byron Wester said the sheriff’s office “continuously” receives complaints from citizens about speed enforcement, problems with speeders on rural roads, in neighborhoods and within the county.

“This is something that we get: weekly complaints on different areas throughout the county about speed control,” he said. “We also respond to a large number of crashes and injury crashes throughout the county every month.”

Wester called it a tool to curb and slow down the speeding problem throughout the county. He noted there’s more traffic in and out of the county when the oilfield picks up with in-state and out-of-state people.

“We respond to more crashes, more complaints on speed,” he said. “This is just another tool that we can use to hopefully slow down traffic a little bit. Get compliance. That’s the goal. The goal is compliance … speed compliance. With that compliance, what you get are safer highways. Public safety is a must.”

Wester said the in-car radars were a budget request and included in the county budget in July. The county commission was “very supportive” of trying to keep the roads safe, he added.

The sheriff’s office also reminded citizens that to request a deputy, call 575-396-3611, or to report criminal or suspicious activities to Lea County Crime Stoppers call 575-393-8005. Callers to crime stoppers may remain anonymous.

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