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Hyattsville Approves Speed Cameras

Automated cameras will soon snap shots of speeding motorists, but City Council delays decision on how many people to hire to run the program.

The Hyattsville City Council last night unanimously approved a proposal to

But confusion over the level of staffing needed to run the program forced the City Council to hold off on a decision to hire one or more new police employees to oversee the speed camera program. The City Council is expected to tackle the hiring decision next week. 

In a memo sent to the City Council, Hyattsville Police Chief and Acting City Administrator Doug Holland recommended that the council authorize the hiring of a new Sergeant rank police officer to both manage the speed camera program and the police department's technology initiatives. 

(Ward 3) was concerned that the staffing needs of the speed camera program, which includes equipment calibration and trips to court, could overwhelm a single officer in charge of the operation the speed cameras as well as the other police tech duties called for. Hunt proposed the amendment stripping the measure of language which would have authorized the hiring of a new police sergeant to manage the speed camera program. 

Hunt's concerns were echoed by  

"My concern here is what do you do in years one and two if basically the sergeant who is now being charged with maintaining the tech for 60 of your staff is also having to go to court and do all these other things?" Tartaro asked.

Holland's memo, in response to feedback from City Council, also describes three other two-person staffing solutions which could satisfy the needs of the speed camera program. But the cost of these mutli-person staffing solutions bloat the cost of the speed camera program.

The cameras will be located on the westbound 3300 block of East West Highway, the northbound 5900 block of Ager Road, the westbound 3700 block of East West Highway and the southbound 7000 block of Adelphi Road. 

The measure also approves six additional secondary sites for the portable camera units to be located; the northbound 4900 block of Rhode Island Avenue, the eastbound 3300 block of East West Highway, the southbound 5800 block of Baltimore Avenue, the northbound 5900 block of Ager Road and the northbound 5400 block of Baltimore Avenue. 

The city projects that each camera will issue an average of 50 tickets per day in the first year the program goes live. At $40 a ticket, that translates into roughly $2 million in fines issued by the city in the first year of the program. That income is expected to slump significantly in the second year of the program as local motorists become more wise to the camera's and their locations.

Before the camera goes live, the city must get the blessing of the Maryland State Highway Administration as well as county officials. 

Claudia Ferguson April 10, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Thanks so much. Keep us informed on the camera location and please let us know what would be the speed limit. Nobody wants a ticket, Claudia
Michael Theis April 10, 2012 at 02:37 PM
True that. The cameras, once installed, will only snap your picture if you are traveling more than 12 mph above the speed limit.
BigDan March 15, 2013 at 01:02 PM
It's not about safety it's about money. If it's about "Behavior Change" like they claim then these cameras will render themselves obsolete in a matter of months...yet every camera I have ever seen stays in place. We're letting PRIVATE COMPANIES do our police work. The notion it frees up police is ridiculous. Just the other day I saw 4 Hyattsville cops writing a ticket to ONE motorist. If it frees up police how come they don't get rid of the drug deals at the top of Farragut St, or stop the speeding and stop sign running on Hamiliton St at 41st avenue? OH THAT'S RIGHT! Because the Hyattsville police is not only so inept at solving crime, but they are ARROGANT enough to speed down Hamilton St, and blow through the stop sign and NEARLY T-BONE ME. I got a dash cam installed in my car. I WAIT for the day a Hyattsville cop TBones me so I can sue the living hell out of this city and I can retire and move to a decent city.
Trisha April 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM
I've always believed speed cameras issuing fines for speeding has a double standard. 1. Behavior change on behalf of the motorist and city which imposes fine. Police officers are supposed to make the community safe "protect and serve". However this "Big Brother" approach in my opinion is just making money not truly allowing a police officer to do sworn duty. 2. A speed camera is not a police officer. A speed camera is a computer of some sort calibrated to snap a picture of a moving object i.e. Car if it goes to fast. Now isn't it in the job description of a police officer to stop motorist and write tickets for speeding, rolling stops, not giving the right of way and so forth.

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