Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Is Eugene ready for this type of REVENUE enforcement?



Robin's Commentary

If history repeats itself, when the voters vote down another tax for public safety, as in the past, they will find other ways of raising money. Usually through citations.

This may come in the form of officers pulling over more people for minor violations or they may try a new tactic by using technology known as photo radar and red light cameras. It's

although not so new to law enforcement, red light cameras and photo radars are started to show up in more and more cities throughout the United States such as Portland and Medford


As any street cop will be the first to tell you, the majority of the felons that are captured from traffic stops for a minor traffic infringements such as a burned-out taillight etc..

Photo radar of the other hand is an automated system whose only job is to send you a ticket in the mail in which you have to prove your innocence.

One of the big questions that is asked is, is this law enforcement or revenue enhancement?. Moreover, how much are we paying for the systems?

Well here's the thing that will surprise you... not that much.

It is revenue enhancement, who profits from it and how does it work?

A private company known as Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. Of Scottsdale, Arizona partners with the local cities by providing the necessary equipment, support and monitoring needed for the systems.
(Information from their web site) (link)
City Provided Services
The city oversees all aspects of the photo detection and enforcement technology through this contract. The city controls the site selection process for both fixed and mobile detection systems. The city pays monthly rental fees for both fixed and mobile detection systems. Fees are also paid for each successfully prosecuted speed and red light citation.
Contractor Provided Services
The contractor pays all costs for vehicle and equipment purchase, installation and maintenance. Van operators are hired and trained by Redflex .
Redflex is responsible for the following:
· process and mail all citations
· provide an expert witness to testify in Court on all contested citations and appeals
· perform process service via a third party subcontractor (Arizona Photo Safety) when defendants ignore the first mailed copy of a citation.
In FY 2003-04, the City paid Redflex approximately $1.4 million for all of the above services. Redflex is not required to report their net profit to the city under the current contract. that's interesting

Photo radar itself is a mobile unit that is in mounted inside of a van placed on random streets. It includes a camera that is connected to a radar gun, which automatically triggers when a vehicle approaches above a set setting.

Currently, photo radar has the following restrictions under Oregon revised statute (ORS) 810.438-439 specifies how photo radar can be used by the authorized cities. It can be used in any one location for no more than four hours a day, can not be used on controlled access highways, and the city must post signs notifying drivers of potential photo enforcement on major routes entering the city.

The photo radar units must be operated out of marked police vehicles by trained police officers.

Law enforcement? Revenue enhancement? Definite moneymaker? Absolutely!

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