Beginning this week, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office plans to make a concerted effort to slow down speeding motorists.

Sheriff A. J. Smith said radar has been installed in all of the department’s vehicles, including his own, and the sheriff and deputies will be issuing tickets. Up until last week, only five cars were equipped with radar.

The 15 additional radar units were installed last week and have been in use on a trial basis. Now all officers are trained in the operation of the new equipment.

“We won’t be hiding anything. The cars will be visible,” Smith said. “We want you to know upfront that you might get a ticket. This is a very important matter of public safety.”

Smith said he has received numerous complaints about speeders since taking office in January.

“We put a traffic counter out for a week in Lanark Village and counted 14,800 cars; 9,800 were exceeding the speed limit by five mph or more,” said Smith.

Smith said two cars have overturned on North and South Bay Shore Drive in Eastpoint during the last two weeks. He said he personally clocked a vehicle near Thirteen Mile traveling in excess of 90 mph.

The sheriff said he wrote four speeding tickets on Bluff Road on Sunday, April 9 and that every member of the department will be on the lookout for violators.

He said certain problem areas will be targeted in the campaign. These include Avenue A, Old Ferry Dock Road and North and South Bayshore in Eastpoint; 17th Street, 24th Avenue and Bluff Road in Apalachicola; Pine Street and County Road 300 on St. George Island, CR 67 in Carrabelle and US 98 in Eastpoint, Carrabelle and Lanark Village.

“Since it’s a countywide problem, this is something we can enforce while we are doing other tasks to make county roads safer for our children, pets and visitors as well as county drivers,” said Smith. “There’s nothing worse than to go to a traffic crash and have to put a sheet over a child; it’s something you never forget. So I encourage everyone to obey the law and help make Franklin County a safer place.”