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Speed Cameras Coming to Hazelwood? City Council Approves Introduction of Ordinance

Hazelwood Chief of Police, Carl Wolf, made the recommendation for speed cameras to Hazelwood City Council at its Wednesday meeting.

Pending a final vote, not only will those driving around have cameras to monitor running red lights, drivers will also have to be aware of speeding.

At , gave a comprehensive traffic management plan update in which he recommended council consider bringing speed cameras to the city.

Wolf said cities including St. Ann, Kinloch, Berkeley and Country Club Hills currently have speed cameras and he feels they would help to deter speeding in Hazelwood.

Hazelwood Traffic

"It's been a number of years ago, probably 2004, since I gave presentation to city council on our comprehensive traffic management plan update," Wolf said adding that a lot has been added to the plan since that time. "The purpose of the comprehensive traffic management program is when our streets are safe and pleasant, quality of life is enhanced.

"When traffic problems become a daily occurrence, our sense of community and personal well-being are threatened."

According to some data Wolf presented, the handled 955 vehicles accidents in 2011.

Key highlights of Wolf's presentation include safety measures added to the city including:

  • Keeps Kids Alive, 25 Zones: This is 25 miles per hour speed enforced zones where fines are doubled if a driver is caught speeding in an area with the signs.
  • Traffic Management Team: Handles traffic accidents and does the enforcement. The team consists of four (4) officers who in 2011 issued 5,932 citations and investigated 141 injury accidents.
  • Traffic Calming Program: Various measured where a citizen can go online and fill out a survey about concerns and traffic problems in their neighborhood. If 51 percent of residents in that area sign a petition saying the issue is a problem, the city will do a study to see how to address the issue. The program can result in a stop-sign or road bump being installed in dangerous areas, among other measures.
  • Traffic Enforcement Cameras/Signs: The red light cameras displayed throughout the city, along with digital signs that tell drivers how fast they are driving. 
  • In 2011, the City of Hazelwood has issued more than 20,000 red light camera citations.

Speed Cameras

Wolf said he recommends adding speed cameras to the current traffic management plan by amending the current red light camera ordinance to also include speed cameras.

HPD would also enforce the speed cameras in a partnership with American Traffic Solutions (ATS), which currently works with the .

"It just makes common sense to amend our contract with them to include the speed enforcement," Wolf said. "I recommend we approve a contract with (all the camera choices) in it since we are still researching which camera is best for us."

Type of Speed Cameras

Speed Camera Options include:

  • Car/SUV setup: A empty police vehicle would be left on the side of the road with the camera and radar affixed to it. Each time a car passes by that's speeding it catches the speed and take a photo. It can take up to three photos of three different vehicles at one time.
  • Standalone tripod: A standalone camera/radar system would be placed along the side of the road and would act in a similar manner as the car/SUV setup. It would also capture the same amount of violations and one time. Wolf didn't recommend using this setup as he believes it's too easy to steal.
  • Camera inside of a box: is the same as a camera on a tripod only inside of a box setup, which makes it more difficult to steal.
  • Standalone camera/radar on a pole: This would work as the aforementioned setups only it's a permanent display that can't be moved to different locations.

Should the City of Hazelwood give final approval of speed cameras and they become law, Wolf said if council selects the police car camera setup, ATS provides the vehicle and the equipment.

Wolf also said a police officer would be stationed nearby reviewing the violations.

"Illinois State Police, they figure they can write 15 citations in a construction zone for every 1 (one) they write traditionally with the cameras," Wolf said. "With the traditional method, it is ineffective and inefficient.

"When an officer observes a person running a red light, they have to bust the intersections, run the red light and go catch that person to stop them and give them a ticket."

Tickets and Costs

In terms of enforcement, should a camera catch someone speeding, a $100 ticket would be issued. If the person exceeded the speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour, the fine doubles to $200. Depending on which ATS camera the city would contract, ATS would profit $35 to $40 per ticket.

"Many people will say it's about money," Wolf said of public perception should Hazelwood approve the measure. "But it is not a money-grab. It's a safety issue."

Council members had a few questions about the measure. Some expressed mixed feelings on adding another set of cameras throughout the city: privacy vs. public safety.

Ward 5 Councilman Russell Todd asked would tickets issued add points to drivers' licenses, to which Wolf said just like the red light cameras, they do not.

"It really is better if you get this sort of ticket versus a speeding ticket because you don't get the points," Todd said.

Ten (10) miles per hour (mph) over the speed limit would trigger a ticket.

said he was unsure if that was a significant enough gap for drivers to slow down when they see the cameras. Wolf said 10 mph is the current amount of speed over the limit at which Hazelwood Police issue speeding tickets.

"These are gentile reminders (for speeders)," Wolf said of the cameras. "Law enforcement should be out there dealing with the crime, not with drivers that fail to obey the traffic laws.

"Let the cameras do it."

The cameras would go up in school, park, work and construction zones, as well as Keep Kids Alive Zones and any other roadway determined to have a speeding problem, if approved.

Speed Camera Approval Process

Upon Wolf's presentation and recommendation to council, it approved the recommendation, which then had first reading as three amended red light camera bills. Council will have a final vote on the bills and approve them before they become law as revised red light camera ordinances. Follow this link to view the current red light camera ordinances.

To read more about Hazelwood City Council See:

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Kellygirls June 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM
I think this is another way to milk money from motorists. I don't have a issue with cameras in problem areas, however to put up cameras just because you "can" I think is over reaching and does a disservice for the Hazelwood community.
Candace Jarrett June 25, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Chief Wolf said they should go up in various zones like work, school, construction and park zones, do you think the areas should be more targeted? For example a specific road that has had more than X amount of tickets issued X amount of miles over the speed limit.
Ashley June 25, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Informative article. Great...just what we need. I think if you want to catch someone speeding, an officer should catch them speeding. I feel it's a way to reduce force but capitalize in revenue. I'm usually for HPD but not this time.
James D. montonye June 25, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Running red lights is a rare occurence.The right turn on red without a stop is the moneymaker they are counting on and is much less dangerous..
J June 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
LOL, good luck with those speed cameras, they will be banned within a few years. Missouri government has displayed a dislike to cameras.
Jim Wooliver June 25, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Good, can't wait to get them on Lynn Haven where there are many speeding violations.
Bob Emling June 25, 2012 at 05:21 PM
One good thing about these contraptions, they will not be eating donuts at the local convenient store or donut shop. This is more big brother intruding in our lives, If you have a problem area with speeding, put a policeman with radar in that location. Then the law breaker gets points, and that will make them more conscious of not speeding.
Candace Jarrett June 25, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Thanks Ashley. So are you saying you'd feel more comfortable with more aggressive enforcement of speeding with real police officers? Is your concern machine taking over jobs man should have?
Candace Jarrett June 25, 2012 at 08:48 PM
That is actually how I got my red light ticket once on a tight turn. I didn't stop at the white line, although I stopped before I drove out into the intersection. I will say this, it was an expensive lesson I won't forget!
Candace Jarrett June 25, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I could imagine Lynn Haven does see a lot of speeding since it connects Howdershell and Lindbergh, people kind of drive it like it's one of those streets. Have you seen any accidents occur on Lynn Haven, Jim?
Candace Jarrett June 25, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Bob are you saying you feel the cameras won't curb speeding? In some ways I think people won't want to get the tickets, but what about a person that just enjoys driving fast? Do you think they'd just pay the fine since they won't incur points? Would you prefer points be applied with speed camera tickets?
richard f.brown June 26, 2012 at 12:50 AM
another chicken poop town......whos pocket is the money going in.
Photoradarscam June 26, 2012 at 12:57 AM
If it's not about money, then where is the data showing that speeding is a problem? How many crashes were caused by exceeding the posted limit (not just speed related) in the past x years? If people are exceeding the posted limit but there are few or no serious crashes, what is the problem? I believe the city has been lobbied hard by a camera salesman and is simply looking to cash in on a problem that doesn't exist.
Mike MacConnell June 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM
will these cameras catch speeding drunks? How about a felon? this is a shortcut plain and simple. This is the easy way out. Can't we face the person issuing a citation? Guess not...
Mike MacConnell June 27, 2012 at 12:19 AM
the donut thing ...cheap shot....I do agree, with putting more cops out with radar.
Brian June 28, 2012 at 07:28 AM
I'm really disappointed that there was an omission from this article. Chief Wolf and the Hazelwood Police Department have "Partner" status with the National Coalition for Safe Roads. NCSR touts itself as a nonprofit agency concerned with making roads safer. In fact it is bankrolled by American Traffic Solutions, the for profit company that really needs to expand its business ventures in Missouri. Full disclosure would be appreciated.
Candace Jarrett June 28, 2012 at 09:20 AM
Hi Brian, if you read at the bottom of the article where it says "To read more about Hazelwood City Council See: City of Hazelwood Named in Red-Light Camera Lawsuit." Thanks for reading.
Candace Jarrett June 28, 2012 at 09:22 AM
Hey Photoradarscam during the meeting Chief Wolf did give a presentation with some stats and if I recall correctly, I think there have been 3 fatal accidents in the last three years. I can't recall how many vehicle accidents but I'll do my best to get the information and post it in an article.
Mike MacConnell June 28, 2012 at 11:10 AM
reading the whole article does add a few valid points in favor of cameras. No points on a license for one. That's huge...a 10 mph buffer is another. It's not arbitrary, a teenager or 'suspicious type' would get a ticket an 'upstanding' adult may or may not etc..
Brian June 28, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Of course they can't put points on your license. The cameras can't prove who was driving. And the 10mph buffer may be OK for some, but what if it falls short of the revenue projections that ATS needs? Then it simply gets lowered, or they will ticket for going too far under the limit. I heartily encourage everyone to look at the disasters speed cameras have caused in places that already use them like Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, DC. @ Ms. Jarrett: Thanks for the link to the earlier article. I had not seen that before. I'm still curious why a multi-million dollar company needs a non-profit to handle its PR work and why a public officer needs to be a spokesman for the non-profit. To me it reeks of conflict of interest.
Ashley June 29, 2012 at 04:42 PM
So with Kellygirls. I think that if there is a speed issue it can be controlled with officers. Cameras aren't an issue but the front page article today shows traffic and speeding aren't serious issues. I've grown up in Hazelwood and don't really recall it ever being an issue.
Ashley June 29, 2012 at 04:43 PM
What is a chicken poop town Richard. Do you live in Hazelwood?
Ashley June 29, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Agreed Mike. Chief Wolf said in the article to let police worry about crime but some driving offenses are serious crimes.
Ashley June 29, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Mike, I think if you are a speeder, no points is a bonus but if they are really trying to curb the speeding, wouldn't you want the points in order to dissuade the speeding?
Ashley June 29, 2012 at 04:49 PM
All-in-all I'n not worried about the cameras on residential roads and main roads. My concern is for the highway and work zones off I-270. MoDOT just did the study on changing that part of the highway and getting on and off Lindbergh. Sometimes you have to speed up to merge onto the highway. So you mean I risk getting a ticket every time I merge on and off the highway is the radar/camera detects it?
Brian June 29, 2012 at 05:39 PM
This is exactly what has happened in Maryland after they brought in the speed cameras. They would set up "work zones" on the interstates near Baltimore with no real work going on. The cameras would be placed there only to snap pictures and send invoices to the owners of the vehicle. A bill was introduced in their legislature to deny this practice - since it is a more egregious money grab than the normal speed cameras - but it was not passed. This is further evidence that cameras do nothing to enhance safety, only revenue.
Brian June 29, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Also in order to dissuade speeding: you would want to cite the driver and not the owner and make sure that the offender received the citation instead of dropping it in the mail and trusting it reached its intended destination.

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