Bainbridge Public Safety implements new school speeding cameras, grace period to end Monday – The Post-Searchlight | #schoolsaftey

Bainbridge Public Safety implements new school speeding cameras, grace period to end Monday

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, September 7, 2023

With the school year now well underway, Bainbridge Public Safety will be taking a harder stance on speeding through school zones. In response to several speeding incidents, a new camera system has been installed around school systems to catch speeders. While the system has been in place since the beginning of the school year, BPS has been providing a grace period for the past month; this period will end on Monday.

BPS Chief Redell Walton spoke with the Post-Searchlight about the system, as well as the reasoning behind its creation.  Part of the reason behind the adoption of this system was frequent complaints of speeding around the high school. “At the high school, I’ve seen them in the high 70s, the 80s when it’s at 65 mph, and occasionally, when it drops down to 45 mph, 20 miles above, easy,” Walton recounted. He recalled two speeding incidents within just a couple of weeks involving the same student, having been previously let off with a warning for super-speeding. “Learning is not taking place, so we’ve got to do something,” he said.

Another inciting incident was a student at Bainbridge Middle School being struck by a car last year; while the child survived, it was still a wake-up call for Walton.

The camera system, rather than employing radar, uses lidar to measure speed. The system has been installed by a private contractor. “People think usually, that the school zone is only in effect when the lights are flashing,” Walton said. “At its peak hours, when people are dropping off kids or picking kids up, it drops down to 25 mph, lights flashing, even then, the way the cameras are set up, it’s giving them a buffer zone that’s several miles above the actual speed limit. So you actually have to be crushing it to get a ticket.” Despite this buffer zone, Walton said he was “shocked” to see motorists driving at speeds ranging from 35 to 50 mph through the Shotwell Street school zone.

While some of the money will be used for training equipment, Chief Walton wanted to emphasize that this system was not purely about raising money. “It’ll be something that hopefully benefits the kids by slowing traffic down, and then we can buy equipment and fund training for our people, which makes the school system a little safer.”

“Our main concern is the safety of our students, from high school on down,” Walton concluded.

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