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Chief wants two more red-light cameras
[December 21, 2012]

Chief wants two more red-light cameras

WENATCHEE, Dec 21, 2012 (The Wenatchee World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- More red light cameras may be in Wenatchee's future.

Police Chief Tom Robbins plans to ask the City Council, at its annual retreat Jan. 19, to consider cameras at two more intersections.

Also, if school officials are interested, he would like the council to consider installing cameras to ticket speeders at some local school crossing zones. The number of schools would be determined by feasibility studies and school officials.

"If we can use electronics fairly and equitably, it makes a lot of sense," Robbins said.

Intersections he'd want considered are Miller Street and North Wenatchee Avenue, and Maiden Lane and North Wenatchee Avenue.

"I get a lot of complains from citizens about those two intersections," the police chief said. "Maybe they could be better managed by cameras." Robbins said he thinks cameras should monitor traffic heading south on North Wenatchee Avenue at the Maiden Lane intersection, and traffic heading north off of Miller Street onto Wenatchee Avenue.

Those would be in addition to three intersections that have had cameras since the middle of 2010: Fifth Street and Chelan Avenue, Orondo and Chelan avenues, and Mission and Kittitas Street.

The new cameras could not go in for some time. Robbins said the council would have to approve a study of those intersections for violations and accidents to see if cameras would be appropriate. He estimated that it would take about three months, from council approval, to have new red-light cameras in operation.

Robbins noted that the city ordinance that allows red-light cameras also would allow cameras that check for speed near schools.

"The thing about school zones is that we do not have enough patrol units to put out and enforce them every day," he said.

He added that, "there has to be a safety reason that we'd put them in there. We'd have to see if there are enough speeding vehicles coming through there and making it a hazard." He said revenue from speeding tickets generated from the cameras may allow the district to fund a resource officer at Wenatchee High School. "Because of the budget, we had to remove the officer from the high school and put that officer on patrol," he said.

Revenue from red-light cameras, which totaled $393,958 in 2011, goes into the general fund, but is directed toward public safety areas, the chief said. Revenue from two more cameras could fund another patrol officer.

Robbins said revenue is not the main reason for red-light and speed-zone cameras.

"It's safety," he said. "We've found accidents are going down, and they reduce people running those lights." Dee Riggs: 664-7147 [email protected] ___ (c)2012 The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) Visit The Wenatchee World (Wenatchee, Wash.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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