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Millington Speed Van hits street with new look

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

The Millington Speed Van has two new addition near the rear bumper.

The infamous Millington Speed Van has undergone some changes in recent weeks.

Police Chief Rita Stanback announced the addition of decals reading “Millington Police” and “Photo Enforcement” on the Ford Explorer to make motorist aware of the location of the vehicle.

“We’ve added some magnetic signs to help the van stand out,” Millington Sgt. Chris Stokes said. “Because it is a leased vehicle, we can’t decal it like we would a regular vehicle because it has to be turned in like we got it.”

Stokes said the department heard the outcry from residents and motorist riding through Flag City. He said the Speed Van was never designed to sneak up on motorist or have an ambiguous appearance.

When asked why the MPD made the changes to the van Stokes said, “Mainly because of public opinion,” This van is all about safety, this whole program. We’re not trying to hide the van. We want to make sure the people see it and understand it can be anywhere in the city.

“We want them, not just when they see the van to slow down, but all the time,” Stokes added. “Be conscious that it might be out there.”

The Millington Speed Van debuted in the late Summer of 2010. With five operators, the vehicle is on the streets of Millington 100 hours a month.

The primary target area for the van is school zones enforcing safety around the children pre and post school hours. The van has 200 pre-programed target areas.

The Speed Van made it’s arrival to the streets of Millington around the same time as the red-light cameras along Highway 51. The red-light cameras are utilized at eight intersections and approaches at four intersections within the city before the opening of Veterans Parkway.

During 2011, the first full year of operation, nearly 17,000 red-light running violations have been issued. When comparing 12 month of data, red-light running violations have been reduced 51 percent

In July 2011 the Tennessee State Legislature passed a uniform standards bill that mandated that such programs may only issue citations for an unlawful right turn on red signal at an intersection that is clearly marked by a “No Turn on Red” erected.  The MPD has seen reductions in overall violation areas with the operations of the red-light camera.

“Anybody who drives down the highway or any streets in Millington,” Stokes concluded, “will say they see a difference in how everyone drives.”

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