Here’s why Kenner won’t deploy cameras to ticket speeding motorists

 

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By Drew Broach, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
dbroach@nola.com
The Times-Picayune

Kenner residents spoke, and the City Council listened. That was the official message Friday (Dec. 21) when the council shelved Police Chief Michael Glaser’s request to use automatic cameras to ticket speeding motorists.

Council members said they were overwhelmed by phone calls, emails, text messages, social media posts and face-to-face jeremiads against Glaser’s proposal. They took pains to thank the public for the input, saying that’s how a representative democracy works.

“When this was put on our agenda some 28 days ago, it certainly excited some responses,” said Councilman Mike Sigur, who sponsored Glaser’s request for camera authority as well as the move to postpone it. The council deferred the issue indefinitely in a 7-0 vote.

Glaser has kept a fairly low profile since being elected police chief with no opposition in 2014, and re-elected the same way earlier this year. He said nothing at Friday’s council meeting.
He and Sigur, a former Police Department administrator, say residents pepper officials with complaints of speeding in neighborhoods, and that Glaser can’t sufficiently enforce traffic laws without diverting officers from other duties or being given more money to hire additional police. If cameras aren’t deployed, Sigur said, speeding will continue.
“This deferral will take it off our agenda, but it will not remove the problem,” he said
Traffic enforcement cameras have been controversial in many jurisdictions. They ticket motorists who break the law and generate revenue for governments unwilling to raise taxes or cut other services in order to hire more police. But no one likes to receive a speeding ticket in the mail, especially without a uniformed human being to listen to one’s extenuating circumstances before writing the citation.
“Everybody likes that old-fashioned police work of an individual to be able to address the situation … to be able to understand circumstances,” Councilman Gregory Carroll said.
Options for Glaser now include increasing efficiency in the department, reducing some police services and assigning more personnel to traffic enforcement, asking the council for more money or brushing off complaints of speeding. Sigur said council members will try to help: “It’s up to us to find another solution.”

Drew Broach covers Jefferson Parish politics and education, plus other odds and ends, for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. Email: dbroach@nola.com. Facebook: Drew Broach TP. Twitter: drewbroach1. Google+: Drew Broach.