Long Beach resident hopes radar will return to Hwy 90

Long Beach resident hopes radar will return to Hwy 90

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A Long Beach business man and volunteer firefighter has had enough of the speeding on U.S. 90 in his city. And he's using a tool he bought for his daughter's softball team to make a point.

Bob Dean has always thought the stretch of Highway 90 from Bay St. Louis through Long Beach was a speedway. Now, he has proof with his own radar gun.

"There's 61," he says as he points the radar at a passing car. He points it again.

"Let's see what we got here: 64. That's 19 miles over the speed limit."

According to Dean, that's about normal.

"We've seen speeds as high as 85 to 90 miles an hour," he said. "It's not uncommon to see 65 to 70 miles an hour - basically Highway 90 being treated like an interstate rather than a scenic highway."

He says it creates problems with tourism, as well as for locals.

"As a business owner in Long Beach, one of our concerns is that we want safety for our tourists," Dean says. "We're trying to attract tourism, we want people to be safe and being able to cross Highway 90."

And he's frustrated that the Long Beach Police Department is without a big enforcement tool.

"I mean, what can we do right now with our law being tied? The only thing we can do is stand out here with a yellow flag and say slow down."

In the 2010 census, the Long Beach population dipped below 15,000 by just a couple of hundred people. As a result, the police are not allowed to run radar on the highway. State law prohibits any agency in a city with fewer than 15,000 people from using radar as a law enforcement tool.

Long Beach Assistant Police Chief Alan Bond admits there is a problem. But the best tool he has now is a big police presence.

"We certainly have had a problem in the past and we feel like we'll continue to have a problem with speeding on Highway 90," he says. "But we're doing the best we can with the tools that we have."

To be clear, Long Beach can use radar on streets within the city. And it isn't the only city that can't run radar on the highway. Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis and Waveland police departments can't do it either.

Dean hopes his actions will shake up legislators into action to help law enforcement.

"I believe we're above the 15,000 now," Dean says. "And I really don't understand why we can't look at getting some type of measure reinstituted back to allow them to run radar without having to wait until the 2020 census to do this."

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.