Traffic Cameras Proposed for Another Louisiana Parish

December 5, 2012

If Pointe Coupee Parish Police Juror Justin Cox has his way, the parish will soon follow in the footsteps of several Louisiana police departments and start using traffic cameras to catch speeding motorists on parish roads.

The Advocate reports Cox introduced a speed enforcement plan last week during a finance committee meeting where he said the program could reduce speed-related crashes.

Cox said he wants the Police Jury to consider hiring Redflex Traffic Systems to install cameras that would take snapshots of speeding violators along various roads in the parish.

The program would be modeled after one in Baker, which contracted Redflex in 2008. The company issues traffic citations through the mail and collects the associated fine.

Cox said the citations would be classified as civil violations and wouldn’t appear on a person’s criminal record.

In Cox’s proposal, a speeder caught by camera would pay a fine of $135 per ticket.

The Police Jury would pay Redflex $30 to $35 per citation, and the remaining funds would be divided among the parish’s law enforcement and fire protection agencies as well as its 911 call center and Office of Emergency Preparedness, Cox said.

Baker Police Chief Mike Knaps said the program has worked “extremely well” in his city, and the funds it generates helps offset the annual costs of replacing police cars.

“But this is not about making money, it’s about correcting driver behavior,” Knaps said. “When you come to Baker, you will see people put on their brake lights.”

But Cox’s proposal received a lukewarm reception at the Wednesday meeting, mainly from jury President Melanie Bueche, who told Cox the sheriff and district attorney were both opposed to the idea.

District Attorney Ricky Ward said he was told unpaid citations would be handed over to a collection agency. And that doesn’t sit well with Torres.

“For a traffic infraction, this person’s credit rating will suffer, and a lien will be placed on their assets?” Torres said. “What will become the norm in a situation like this is law-abiding citizens who receive tickets and pay for them would pay for the brunt of the program.”

Torres said Cox’s effort seems to be more about revenue than safety.

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