CHARLES SHERIFF REX COFFEY SCREWED UP SPEED CAMERAS TEN YEARS AGO

Temporary Suspension Of Speed Cameras
Sheriff Rex Coffey 2014 THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

August 1, 2013|

Good afternoon, folks…..by now, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard the news… We temporarily suspended all automated speed cameras in our county…we have three. Here’s the issue:

During the initial installation process, when the camera pad sites were built (these are the cement slabs on which the cameras are placed), the westbound pad site on Berry Road near Jenifer Elementary School was placed outside of the school zone signs…. therefore, it did not meet state compliance.

So, when it was pointed out to us, we immediately shut the camera off, validated the concern, and then decided to turn off all speed cameras so that we could review the entire program – from top to bottom – to make sure everything is in compliance. Here are some questions and answers that might help you:

  • What camera sites are affected? Only one: The westbound side of Berry Road at Jenifer Elementary School.
  • Are we fixing the issue? Yes.
  • Will you get a refund if you paid a citation from the westbound Berry Road site? Yes.
  • How long will that take? We’re not sure, but we will do our best to resolve this. We are working with the county and the vendor to determine how to best deal with this process as quickly and accurately as possible.
  • What do I do if I receive a citation from the westbound Berry Road site but haven’t yet paid it? Don’t pay it. If you verify that your citation is indeed from that site (the location is clearly marked on the citation), do not pay the fine; it’s that simple.
  • Please note: All other fines from any other speed enforcement site should be paid.
  • Are there still speed cameras on the roads? No, just the boxes. The cameras have been removed.
  • Are we looking at the compliance of other pad sites? Yes, and they are all in compliance.
  • What about Wade Elementary? It’s in compliance…but we’re working with the county to make it less confusing with all the lights.
  • I still have questions, who do I call? We have some wonderful employees who will do their best to answer any questions you may have. Starting on Friday, Aug. 2 and then again M-F, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (except holidays), our staff can be reached at (301) 609-5971 or (301) 609-5972.

Now, we know this post will generate lots of talk and everyone definitely has an opinion. Some good, some not so good and a few in between. We’ve come to realize people either love the cameras or hate them. Usually, it’s about equal.

Often, we hear that cameras were put in place to “make money.” Sadly, they do. They don’t have to, though. In fact, we’d rather they didn’t. The goal of using these cameras is to reduce drivers’ violations of the speed limits in school zones to the point where the costs of the system greatly outweigh the income from citations. That’s when we’ll know the cameras have done their job.

Fines-double-in-Charles-County, posted above a speed camera. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Prior to the cameras, the Agency had received numerous complaints about speeding in and near school zones. We would hear from parents, neighbors, staff, and even kids. Colonel Joseph Montminy, now a retired CCSO commander, did a lot of research about speed cameras and determined automated cameras would be the best way to reduce speeding in school zones.

We set the program up, sent out a press release, had our local media give it great coverage, and even gave people a two-month window to get used to the cameras. And we even went so far as to make public the location of the cameras every week on the Agency’s Facebook page.

Folks, we don’t want your money. We want people to slow down in school zones. It might take a while, but with the use of cameras, we will eventually get in the mindset that we are entering a school zone and better slow down.

In the meantime, we are working on getting you information as to how and when the refunds will occur. We will also consider any concerns you have while doing the review. Please keep the remarks clean for our readers, and let’s work together to make our county safe for pedestrians, school kids, and motorists. We thank you for your patience…and remember, please drive gently.

Charles County Sheriff’s Department to Re-Activate Speed Cameras in School Zones


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