Roanoke police out in force as new school zone speed limits go into effect

Multiple people caught speeding past Fallon Park Elementary Tuesday

ROANOKE, Va. – As students left Fallon Park Elementary School in Roanoke Tuesday afternoon, Roanoke police officer Terry Dowdy was on her motorcycle making sure people driving past the school on Dale Avenue weren't going faster than 15 mph.

Within five minutes of starting to check people's speed, Dowdy clocked a black sedan coming through the school zone at 32 miles per hour.

"There's going to be a certain amount of education that has to take place. So we want them familiar with it before the enforcement, so to speak. Right now, I think there's going to be a little bit of a grace period," Dowdy said.

That doesn't mean you can speed. It just means you may get a verbal warning instead of a ticket.

Falllon Park Elementary's school zone speed limit is one of nearly two dozen Roanoke City Council and the city's school board voted earlier this year to reduce from 25 to 15 mph.

"Granted, there's not enough of us to try to cover all of these zones, but you'll see us try to hit at least one or two zones a week," Dowdy said.

On Tuesday morning as students were arriving to school, Dowdy stopped five speeders.

"Most people were in a hurry. That's usually the common denominator," Dowdy said.

That's something Dowdy is hopeful a little enforcement and education will make less common.