Monday, December 31, 2007

Can't afford law enforcement, so we will add more revenue generating cameras

the Oregonian --

About this time every year, there are new traffic laws that go into effect, and this year 2008 claims to be a little bit tougher on drivers.

Some of the new laws on the books will allow Oregon to add more red light cameras (HB 2508) and photo radar units (HB 2466).

Red light cameras which are typically fixed units mounted at or near the intersection are designed to take a picture of the driver and the license plate of vehicles that proceed through the intersection after the light has turned red. The photos are then used to send tickets to the offending driver.
Milwaukie Police Chief Larry Kanzler sees the cameras as a way to protect officers and patrol cars. Drivers struck -- and totaled -- three patrol cars in the past year while officers were doing traffic stops along Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard. So Kanzler took photos of the crumpled cars to show to legislators this year.

"I said, 'This is why it's not safe for my officers to do red-light enforcement along McLoughlin,' " Kanzler said.

Kanzler added that unlike officers, the cameras can patrol 24-7.

Photo radar is an automated and mobile radar system typically mounted within a marked patrol vehicle to catch speeders, and as with red light cameras, the offending driver will be mailed a ticket.

having friends and family in law enforcement, they have their own opinions about the "automated" system and its effectiveness in regarding "law enforcement" versus "revenue enhancement".

For example, photo radar versus a traffic stop will not capture felons. Every law enforcement personnel that I have personally spoken to about this subject, told me that they capture more wanted people for minor traffic offenses than any other method.

Secondly, regarding Kanzler's point on his officers getting into accidents at traffic stops... without knowing all the details... yes traffic stops are dangerous, however, it is also up to the officer's best judgment of where and when to safely stop the vehicle.

Third, red light cameras and photo radar should not be used replace or reduce the uniformed officer.

I highly recommend doing research on photo radar systems and the companies that provide them to the cities and how the companies profit off the systems.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason they catch wanted people during traffic stops is that they run the DL of the the offender. As long as they run the DL before mailing out a ticket, they should still be able to catch wanted criminals. Technology is on the rise in law enforcement. It doesn't require benefits or pay raises and is accurate upon call back. We now have electronic wanted posters (bill boards) being utilized by the FBI. I think it is a good idea. Maybe we should use cameras in more areas for protection.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

I agree with you on this one. Privacy is a thing of the past. If you like this you'll love RFID chips. I do like the couple of radar units we have in Eugene that flash if you are going above the speed limit however. They just remind you to keep an eye on your speed without sending you a ticket and they seem to work pretty good to deter speeding. 3

P.S. Happy New Year!

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I would welcome one at Onyx and Franklin as I have almost been killed several times by drivers flying through red lights. Seems like an officer is never around when this happens.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish that we could find a way to make insurance companies give back tot he people or communities that they 'serve'. They are getting rich off of auto insurance premiums and could easily help with road maintence and repairs.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

anon 2:55
that's a good point... and that's come to think of it... I thought that our insurance rates were supposed to go down a little after we all started wearing seat belts.

Of course, that was just a ploy to sell the idea to the voters, just like when the state police claimed they would only looking for people who were not wearing seat belts as a probable cause for a traffic stop.

Fast forward to the present... insurance rates that I'm aware of have not gone down, and police have set up stings looking for seatbelts.

By the way, anon 11:37-
I read an article the other day in popular mechanics where using cameras with optical recognition mounted on police cars, the cars were able to scan multiple license plates at one time and compare it to police records for any wants or warrants.

The only thing that photo radar does is take a snapshot of the license plate and the driver, and then they mail a ticket to the registered owner of the vehicle.

The only way that you (the driver) would even know that you have been tagged is if you saw a flash coming from the parked police vehicle.

At least with a normal traffic stop, the issue or ticket is dealt with at the time of the offense, not weeks later.

Again, I invite you to do a search for the technology of photo radars and the companies that sell them.

it might shock you as it did me.

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