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Speed cameras coming to Colorado Springs after council approves program

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Colorado Springs residents could soon receive pricy tickets in the mail if they are speeding in school or construction zones.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council approved the use of speed radar vans by the Colorado Springs Police Department. The agency said this tool will help limit speeding, which it said is the number one complaint among residents.

“You see it happening,” Vasquez said. “You see dangerous driving habits. So speeding and poor driving habits, they affect everybody on our streets.”

Vasquez said the program should be up and running by the end of the year. The agency will contract for two new vehicles equipped with speed safety cameras. According to state law, these vehicles can only be placed in four specific areas — school and construction zones, residential areas, and roads that border parks. Those vehicles will be manned by a civilian employee, who Vasquez said would be making about $80,000 a year.

“It is one piece that we can add to our whole arsenal of traffic enforcement to really provide more safe streets,” he said.

KRDO13 Investigates asked CSPD where these speed cameras will be placed. Vasquez said their number one priority is school zones. Commander Pamela Castro, who will oversee the program, specifically mentioned Doherty High School but said the agency is still analyzing data to find the best place to position the speed cameras.

At least 30 days before a speed camera vehicle is implemented, CSPD must issue a warning to the public that one will be on the street but the department doesn’t have to say where it will be.

The citations would not trigger points against your license, but they would be tickets for $40 fines or $80 fines in school and construction zones. The tickets will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, not the driver, within 30 days. The owner can either pay the fine or set a hearing within 45 days. Two warning notices are sent to the owner if the ticket is not paid. After that, the fine amounts can be sent to collections.

Vasquez said this program will be a “force multiplier” and free up officers to address more severe crimes.

“We have our officers that are out there writing tickets but they're going to call to call to call so they don't have a lot of time to just do traffic enforcement,” he said.

Vasquez said he isn’t sure when the program will officially begin as the department needs to contract for the two-speed camera vehicles. This is the same reason CSPD still doesn’t know the full cost of the program. Yet Vasquez said it would be cost-neutral, as it is projected to issue 12 tickets per hour.

“It'll be a zero cost to our citizens, zero cost to the city and it'll pay for itself,” Vasquez said.

He said CSPD’s program will mirror that of the Denver Police Department’s, which has been financially viable. However, the City of Aurora just ended its program because it wasn’t making enough money. This is one of the concerns of the city council.

“I just wish we had a better way of tracking to see if we are losing money or if we're actually making a lot of money,” said City Councilwoman Lynette Crow-Iverson. “That would be my biggest concern.”

City Councilman Dave Donelson was the lone vote against the program because he said the program would have little impact on traffic safety.

“It will generate tickets on citizens who are probably not the prime ones we should be focused on,” Donelson said. “I'd rather it be out on those big streets where lots of aggressive driving is occurring rather than the street next to the park where somebody doesn't realize they're going ten miles over the speed limit.”

Vasquez disagreed saying it will protect the most vulnerable.

“This isn't about revenue,” he said. “It's not about generating money for the city. It's about increasing the safety on our streets, making sure that our strategies are about helping us not have people injured or killed.”

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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