October 3, 2019–8:12 a.m.
Since the Rome City Commission approved a speed detection camera ordinance last week, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the pros and cons of the technology.
Opponents have said it’s a money grab, while proponents say it’s simply another way to keep kids in school zones safe.
Captain Chris DeHart with the Rome Police Department’s Selective Enforcement Unit said he began looking into the technology due to a manpower shortage.
He added when he began his career with the police department several years ago, they had around 100 uniformed officers. That number is now around 80.
“You struggle with finding a way to do more with less,” he said. “We still have a job to do and we have to find a way to get it done. Technology has been a good resource just like it has been for everything else.”
Captain DeHart said he was still not completely sold on the idea of speed detection cameras until a traffic study in the school zone at Rome High showed 300 violations in a single day.
“That intersection at Rome High School is the highest speed limit school zone in the city,” he said. “Combined with the traffic flow, the volume that goes through there and the student population, it was top of the list. The other thing that is so dynamic about that particular intersection is that it feeds two of our largest and most dangerous intersections, which are the loop at Riverside Parkway and the loop at New Calhoun Highway. So, if we can reduce speeds at Rome High School, it has a trickledown effect.”
According to the State Law, the speed detection cameras have to be set 11 miles per hour above the speed limit.
The speed limit in the Rome High School zone is 45 miles per hour, meaning motorists would not be ticketed unless they were going at least 56 miles per hour.
“That’s a buffer, so to speak, that the legislature put on this bill to prevent local jurisdictions and governing bodies from using it as a revenue generator,” DeHart added.
Do not expect the speed detection cameras to go up anytime soon.
The City Commission has not yet entered into an agreement with a company called Redspeed, who would provide the cameras at no cost, except for a share of the revenue.
Captain DeHart said it will likely be early next year before the cameras could be installed.
DeHart and Major Rodney Bailey were guests on Wednesday’s First News with Tony McIntosh.