Tacoma school zone cameras to go live Monday

If drivers exceed the 20 mph limit, they’ll get a ticket through the mail

January 10, 2014 

Three cameras that have sat idle for years outside Tacoma schools will be turned on for the first time Monday.

Police are warning drivers to heed the 20 miles per hour speed limit when they see the flashing beacons or get a $124 ticket mailed to their home.

“This is not to give people tickets, this is to warn people that school is in session and to slow down,” police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

The cameras were installed three years ago, but technical difficulties prevented the city from using them until now. They are operated by Redflex, the same Arizona-based company that is in charge of the seven red-light cameras around town.

It’s not clear yet how much revenue will be made from the school cameras. From 2007 to November 2013, the red-light cameras brought in more than $6.5 million from the citations, which carry the same fine as the school camera tickets.

A five-year contract with Redflex that the city entered into in late 2012 shows that $585,000 of revenue goes toward paying the company each year.

The cameras snap photographs of speeding vehicles, and a traffic officer reviews them for violations. The citations then are sent to Municipal Court.

Dan Voelpel, spokesman for Tacoma Public Schools, said the district is grateful for the city’s efforts to ensure the safety of students.

“From the research it’s pretty clear that when motorists know they’re in areas where these cameras exist, they tend to slow down,” Voelpel said. “That means good things for improved safety.”

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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