The Police Department’s new message board cost about $16,000 and was paid for by the nonprofit
Highland Beach Police Foundation. Besides its message capabilities, the unit can measure
vehicle numbers and speeds at various times, helping the department with planning.
The screen is 4 feet high and 6 feet, 10 inches wide.
By Rich Pollack
Highland Beach police have a new tool to use in their efforts to enhance traffic safety, strengthen crime prevention efforts and improve communications with residents.
With money from the nonprofit Highland Beach Police Foundation, the department recently bought a portable message board that can alert residents to any emergency situations and road closures or provide crime-prevention and traffic-safety reminders.
“This is another way for us to communicate important messages to the community,” Chief Craig Hartmann said. “The ultimate goal is to create the safest stretch of State Road A1A and make all our neighborhoods safer.”
In addition to displaying messages in 10-inch characters and symbols — such as arrows — the message board is capable of recording data and letting drivers know when they are exceeding speed limits.
Equipped with radar, the board can provide the Police Department with information about the speed of traffic during certain hours and on certain days. It can also let the department know the average speed of traffic during a given time and record the fastest and slowest speeds during defined time periods.
The board can be programmed to collect traffic-count data at any given time, which the department can use for planning purposes.
“It’s an all-in-one unit that has a traffic analyzer, speed-measuring capabilities and message capabilities,” said Eric Aronowitz, the department’s training manager, who coordinated the effort to acquire the board.
The message board can let drivers know the speed they are traveling, and a blue light and a red light will flash if an approaching vehicle is exceeding the speed limit.
Because it is not equipped with cameras, the board does not record license plates and will not be used for enforcement purposes, Aronowitz said.
Because it’s on a trailer and portable, the message board can be moved to any location within the town and placed on public rights of way or private property with owner approval.
“By having our own message board, we can deploy it wherever we need it and whenever we need it,” Aronowitz said.
Hartmann says the board will be useful to augment existing communication methods in an emergency situation such as when evacuation orders are issued prior to the expected arrival of a hurricane.
It can also be used as a crime-prevention tool, advising residents — for example — to remember to lock their car doors.
The board is 6 feet, 10 inches wide by 4 feet high. The Police Department bought it for about $16,000 from K & K Systems of Tupelo, Miss., using funds from the nonprofit foundation, which collects money from the community and uses it to cover the cost of items the department does not ask the town to fund.