St. Louis-area community installing speed camera in school zone

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by Matt Sczesny / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 11 at 11:31 PM

CALVERTON PARK, Mo. (KMOV) -- The city of Calverton Park has become the latest municipality to install a speed camera. 

The camera is actually the first in Missouri to be approved for a state highway by MODOT.  It is planned to be positioned in front if Walnut Grove Elementary School on New Florissant Road. MODOT says too many drivers are ignoring the speed limit near the school.

Police Chief Vince Delia denies the speed camera will be a revenue generator for the city.  He tells News 4 it will only be used one hour before school starts in the morning and one hour after.

"The basic necessity is the safety of the children," Delia said.

The Chairman of Calverton Park says the decision was not hard.

"I sat out there one afternoon for 20 minutes and we saw four cars going over 45 miles an hour during the school day so after that it was not a hard decision at all," Jim Paunovich said.

Others say the municipality is trying to increase revenue, which is the most common criticism against any city wanting to install the cameras.

"From everything I know every speed camera location I'm familiar with basically is there for the revenue," said St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch. "If it wasn't there for the revenue then these cities wouldn't complain about where the money is going."

Paunovich insists it is not about money.

"Revenue will be high at the beginning but when people catch on and slow down the revenue will go back to normal levels," Paunovich said. "I would be very happy if there are zero tickets a week."

Officials  say they actually expect to make less money from the camera, because they receive $50  from a camera ticket, compared to the $200 they get when officers are out writing tickets.

MODOT insists it was not hard decision for them either.  A three month study revealed sometimes police write ten speeding tickets in a single day at this stretch of road.

Other speed cameras are set up in 12 North County cities and villages. Calverton Park's camera will not be portable and will only be turned on for an hour in the morning when school starts and one hour in the afternoon when school lets out. Chief Delia also says the camera will free up officers from having to patrol the road just to get drivers to slow down.

Calverton Park says the camera could be up and running in six weeks.
 

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