THUNDER BAY - Thunder Bay Chief of Police Sylvie Hauth said she would support automated speed enforcement cameras in the city but would like to look at how other municipalities have implemented their systems for guidance at Tuesday's police services board meeting.
Thunder Bay Police Services board member and mayor Bill Mauro asked Hauth her opinion on automated speed enforcement cameras after he received an email from a company representative that sells the equipment earlier this month.
“I just wanted to bring this and ask your thoughts on it, provincially, we are for a period of time allowed to use automated speed enforcement in school zones and community safety zones,” Mauro said on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Hauth said both red-light cameras and automated speed enforcement systems would be valuable to the police service in terms of freeing up officers, reducing speed and enforcing community safety.
“We have to realize you are automating a whole process so when you have an officer that is stopping (drivers), even though we lay thousands of tickets a year, it takes an officer quite a bit of time when you are pulling someone over, writing a ticket and doing the administrative background on it,” Hauth said in an interview after Tuesday’s meeting.
“When you are talking about a camera taking pictures it is doing so at a fraction of a second at so many per minute,” she added.
Hauth explained how the city of Toronto implemented their automated speed enforcement program in late 2019 and for the first three months issued warnings to drivers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has since suspended.
Hauth also touched on the administrative steps needed to implement the project which includes the city gathering traffic studies and ensuring the areas of implementation meet certain criteria.
She also explained how once the photo is taken, a process needs to put in place to review camera captures by provincial offence officers to review every single charge before it is laid.
“It’s the after result which is the mechanism that needs to put in place in terms of reviewing those charges and processing them that’s kind of something I talked to the board today in terms of what does that look like,” she said.
Hauth said the next steps for the board would be looking at current systems that are in place in other communities.
“It’s really looking at what they have implemented, what’s in place and looking what the cost-sharing possibilities are, what kind of revenue and what type of impact it would have on our budget and also on our resources,” she said, adding she is not sure how much it would cost to implement automated speed enforcement cameras in the city.
“People are aware so it does make a difference,” she said. “Communities that have already implemented these types of automated camera have seen impacts in reductions in speed and seen impacts in terms of community safety.”
Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source