FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence Police Department is requesting more equipment to improve traffic investigations and enhance roadway safety, including a portable speed indicator sign that gives feedback to drivers with the use of emojis. 

“If they’re under the speed limit, it gives a positive emoji. And if they are exceeding the speed limit in that area, it will flash the speed and it will give an unfavorable emoji. A frowny face,” Lieutenant Mike Brandt explained. 

Lt. Brandt says the sign gets moved around to several locations throughout the city where there are the most road complaints. On Tuesday, it was placed alongside the 1400 block of Palmetto Street. 

“There are areas where it is challenging. We can still enforce it but we try to be creative in which the means we enforce driving behaviors and driving patterns,” Lt. Brandt said. “We’re looking for positive methods to influence driving instead of just the citations.”

Florence police say roadway safety remains the top priority and they’re still going to patrol the streets. However, they’re hoping positive reinforcement on the roads will encourage drivers to steer clear of speeding. 

“That kind of feedback, it’s humorous. But it engages with the driver and tries to influence their driving style and try to make our roadways a little bit safer in that manner,” Lt. Brandt told News13. “It’s a nice little gesture to see that smiley face when you’re doing the speed limit and a good reminder when you’re not.”

The department requested money to purchase a second portable speed indicator sign through the Edward Byrne Memorial Law Enforcement Assistance Grant, which they applied for back in August. Police are asking for a total of $24,000 for additional resources such as digital fingerprint system, a voice projection gas mask, and a crash data tool kit. Lt. Brandt says the crash data tool kit is essential in investigating vehicle collisions, and gives officers better insight on what happened leading up to the crash, how fast the vehicles were going, whether the occupants were wearing their seatbelts, seat belts, and whether airbags deployed. It also allows officers to be self-sufficient and not have to rely on other agencies for assistance. 

“We are trying to provide our officers with the right tools and the technology to give them the best opportunity to serve the public,” said Lt. Brandt. “When we have these tools in our tool kit, we can come to the proper conclusions in a timely manner. We can provide those collision reports a little bit faster than we could before because we more of these resources are closer to home.”  

A public hearing will be held to discuss the department’s request, which is a requirement of the Edward Byrne Memorial Law Enforcement Assistance Grant.