Dec 7, 2012

Radar guns on private property?

Gwen of Grand Haven asked, "I was wondering the law on whether it is legal for police to park their cars on private property in order to sit and try and catch speeders. The Grand Haven police sit in a vacant residence at Mercury Drive/Waverly Avenue, trying to catch drivers where the speed limit turns from 45 to 25 mph.


I know the spot you refer to, Gwen. Traveling northwest on Mercury, the road dips at Gidley Bayou and the speed limit drops to 25 mph at the city limits. That's where the road bends and turns west, and becomes Waverly Avenue.

Lt. Renee Freeman of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety explained that it is legal for police officers to utilize private property for the purpose of conducting traffic enforcement. However, she said it is the practice of Grand Haven officers to obtain permission from a resident prior to doing so. 

"Additionally, there are residents who oftentimes call the department or 911 and request traffic enforcement because they feel that motorists are traveling at speeds which exceed the posted limit," Freeman said.

Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



Lt. Freeman said it is legal. What pathetic reporting. How about actually sighting the Code that allows this. I have my own example of the same thing. I have a corner lot with driveways off both roads. I look out my back window one night and see 2 cars (unmarked) - one parked on my drive, well beyond the road right of way - and another parked beside the first only parked on my lawn (on top of my recently in stalled underground sprinkling)- 2 adults in each car. I went out and asked what was going on, only to get a dumb look and no answer from the driver. I inquired again, identifying myself as the property owner and was shown a badge and told they were staking out a house nearby. They left and didn't come back, but they never attempted to "get my permission". Please show me the law that says police can ignore property rights without due cause.


I believe the Grand Haven Twp car sits on Lakeshore Dr. north of Brucker. When he is sitting here he is pulled up on the curb parked on a the land owners front lawn. I believe the rule most roads with right of ways are 66 ft wide... but on Lakeshore Dr. I believe that distance puts them in some owners front yards... But this practice by the GH Twp officers should be ended... The way he sits half in the road and half on someones lawn appears to be very much a hazard to oncoming vehicle traffic. I think you can find better spots to sit and catch your quota to help pay for your position.

Grand Haven Happy

All any driver has to do is obey the posted speed limits on the road he's on and whether there's a radar officer/vehicle anywhere they have a written code legal right to be wouldn't or shouldn't upset any law abiding citizen or homeowner. I didn't say it's OK to destroy or damage the homeowner's property knowingly and if it does occur, reasonable repair costs should be reimbursed. However, if it's the homeowner etc or the need to set foot or park on private property to observe or apprehend who they are seeking with reasonable suspicion or a warrant, a much wider range of private property should be accessible anytime by an office and/or his vehicle. Speeders caught on radar more than create reasonable suspicion.

I too would like to see a written code as to where they can be parked but I'd give reasonable latitude gladly to have a radar vehicle park right on one side of my driveway anytime if it's too do what they are hired to do. Apply the written law!!!

Heck! I might even bring him some very nice donuts and coffee or hot chocolate!


I too agree with Grand Haven Happy, anytime an Officer of the law would like to park on my private property to catch some of these crazy drivers who think they own the road, may do so with my appreciation.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.