SNELLVILLE -- Receiving a new permit Monday, Snellville became the first local police force this week to begin using radar guns for speed enforcement in more than a year.
The move comes a week after county and city government leaders across Gwinnett came to a settlement in a three-year-long service delivery dispute, which caused all the local governments to lose access to state grants and permits.
According to Snellville Police Cpl. Trey Downs, the city force received its permit quickly because its original radar and laser permit had been set to expire at the end of 2013.
Other police forces, including Gwinnett, lost their permits when they expired at the end of 2010, but Snellville lost its on a technicality because of paperwork to add another street to the enforcement zone.
Randy Meacham, who heads the Gwinnett Municipal Association, a coalition of local cities, said officials have plans to turn in required paperwork to the Department of Community Affairs Monday. It is unclear how quickly the radar permits could be issued after that.
"Everybody wants this as quickly as we can, but we've got to do it right," Meacham said. "It's more of a public safety matter, not a revenue matter."
While Duluth officials have said the city lost $1 million in revenue in 2011 due to the loss of the speeding enforcement tool, Downs said Snellville officers looked for other factors that contribute to accidents, such as following to closely and distracted driving, to maintain its enforcement.
"We were able to continue a high level of service," he said. "People aren't going to see a dramatic increase in people pulled over (now)."
But he said law enforcement is pleased to be able to use the enforcement tool again.
"That's just another tool we have at our disposal," he said. "It's proven that speed reduction helps in reducing the number of fatal accidents."