PARADISE VALLEY, AZ — Paradise Valley police are cracking down on speeding in school zones. The police department says it will now have two portable photo enforcement units rotating through five different schools from now on.
Operations Commander Freeman Carney with PVPD says the portable cameras will mostly be used in school zones but can be moved elsewhere. He says there have been complaints of speeders near campuses.
“They’re there to help reduce speeds and avoid collisions,” he said.
Krystin Simpson waits for her three kids at Cherokee Elementary every day, she tells ABC15 she's seen more speeders this year compared to years past.
“It’s usually not as bad, but lately there are a lot of cars going fast through here,” she said.
If a driver goes 11 miles over the speed limit, the camera will trigger and take a picture.
Carney said the photos then go through a verification process for review of accuracy and then a ticket is sent home, speeders can get up to a ticket for up to $236.
“Traffic safety has always been a big topic for our residents and a major concern. If we can protect the kids that much more from collisions, from pedestrian accidents, it’s a good thing for us and for them,” Carney said.
Paradise Valley has multiple speeding cameras throughout the town at intersections that also have photo enforcement vehicles that can capture speeders. Carney said they decided to go with brand new, smaller units for school zones because of congestion in those areas.
He said it would only add more congestion to have a photo enforcement vehicle in school zones where roads are narrow.
“I think it’s a good idea. I think the bottom line is it’s best for the safety of the kids and every parent would think the same thing,” said Tushar Gohael, a dad of two kids.
“There is a lot of kids trying to cross the street here even though they’re not supposed to,” Simpson added. “It’s a little scary, so I’m glad they put those up.”
Carney said the cameras are on lease for $1,800 a month, which the department is paying through the general fund.
For the first month the cameras will be in place, Carney said officers will be giving warnings. After that, citations will be sent home.
“We just want a reduction in speed. So, hopefully, people can be warned, it’s a new thing. We don’t want the citations. Once they get used to it, hopefully this is a standard. This is how we operate on the street. We do the speed limit,” he said.
The Paradise Valley Police Department says it has seen a decrease in crashes since it put cameras in decades ago. In 1986, Carney said there were 400 accidents at one problem intersection. In 2021, the city had 148 crashes town-wide, the department said.