Complaints from area residents about cars excessively speeding on Diley Road prom-pted the Pickerington Police Department to look into the matter.
Rather than expending valuable patrol resources in having a police cruiser assigned on Diley Road for extended periods of time to determine the extent of the problem, the police department enlisted the services of an inauspicious little machine called "Stealth Stat" to do the job.
"It looks like any kind of utility box," said Commander Greg Annis, referring to the traffic statistics computer that allows police departments to track and manage traffic.
Annis brought the rectangular fiberglass box to Pickerington City Council's Safety Committee on June 19 and gave a presentation touting its efficacy in monitoring both speeds and traffic.
He said the Stealth Stat device, which also doubles as a directional radar unit, was recently affixed, temporarily, to a pole at the intersection of Diley Road and Manchester Drive.
"We did a seven-day study (there) as a result of complaints specifically about Diley Road," Annis said. "During this particular week, we really weren't seeing (speeding)."
"We found out 85 percent (of vehicles) were doing 48 mph or slower," he said.
The speed limit on that stretch of Diley Road is 45 mph.
Annis said the fastest speed clocked by the device was 81 mph, however, that was determined to be "one of our officers driving on Diley (responding) to an overturned truck."
He said the minimum speed clocked out at 15 mph, which generated laughs.
The initial data from Stealth Stat indicated 36,000 vehicles traveled on Diley Road during the one-week study period with an average speed of 48.4 mph, Annis said.
Pickerington resident Ted Hackworth, also a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said the data backs up his perception there has been an increase of traffic on Diley Road.
"That road is not even 10 years old yet," Hackworth said.
Annis said the police department received the device three weeks ago. It cost $3,500.
"We've just got the system," he said, adding Stealth Stat serves no law enforcement function, but rather is for data gathering purposes only.
He said Stealth Stat will help to objectively determine which areas of the city are needed for a more targeted patrol presence and which are not.
"That's great data, great information to have," said City Councilman Jeff Fix.
"People are really complaining (about speeding) and you've got data to show otherwise," Fix said.
"It's good to know people weren't really flying."
"We're still figuring it out so we can be able to look at other positions," Annis said.
He said Stealth Stat can also used in conjunction with the City Engineer's Office for traffic studies.