Dear Editor:

I was horrified to see Jefferson considering speed cameras, even in school zones.

If traffic is a safety issue around Jefferson schools, then speed is only part of the problem. The city needs more peace officers if JPD Chief Joe Wirthman can’t cover all the requirements of policing the city with his present staff.

I see several problems with speed enforcement by camera.

The contracting company benefits from issuing citations. I’m a layman in regards to law enforcement and I haven’t had a speeding ticket in years, but I always knew when the officer handing me a citation wasn’t getting "a piece of the action."

If one is stopped for a moving violation, the effect of the interview with the officer is immediate. A ticket in the mail a few days or weeks later means the violating driver has been operating without any corrective influence since the violation.

The officer conducting the stop may also bring other issues to the driver’s attention.

The officer conducting the stop might also discover criminal activity or warrants to enforce during the interview. An intoxicated, or otherwise impaired driver is a real danger that an officer would likely stop.

Who gets the citation? How is the driver identified? Must I inform on a driver who I allowed to drive my car in order to avoid being cited?

The officer stopping you for speeding is responsible for that citation, including the accuracy of the equipment used to monitor your speed, including calibrating the radar/laser/whatever. Further, the officer can attest to other factors that required intervention.

The councilman who said, “A ticket, they forget about in a month. But you don’t forget about hitting a child or killing a child or putting them in the hospital,” is thoughtless. Moving violations have an effect on your insurability and the prospect of an automaton issuing citations that could result in "points" against your license is a problem.

Remember, the contracting company has a financial benefit from issuing all the citations it can and to write the maximum violation possible.


Walt Hawn

P.S. The citizens  are lucky to have MainStreet Newspapers covering this area. I have lived in small towns across the country where the rich and or powerful did as they pleased without concern of exposure by the local paper. It never goes well.


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