Pay $101 and Say ‘Cheese’

Bremerton is considering using cameras to help cut down on red-light runners and speeders, and to create enough revenue to add five new police officers. In preparing the story I called reps from two cities — Bonney Lake and Auburn — to find out how the programs are working there. Neither city is using the program hoping to generate revenue, they said. Bremerton’s not shy about wanting to make some money for the program, enough for the officers.

In Auburn the mayor said most of the complaints he gets are from people who don’t live in town. He shared one of the letters with me, and his response. Early hint: The part written in all caps (the Internet version of yelling) is from the complainer. The Bremerton council will begin discussing the issue in a workshop Thursday.


Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 8:56 AM
To: Pete Lewis
Subject: RED LIGHT SYSTEM

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE PROTESTERS OF THE RED LIGHT SYSTEM BEING PUT
INTO PLACE IN AUBURN..YOU CAN SAY WHAT YOU WANT, BUT IT IS OBVIOUS THAT
IT IS ALL ABOUT GENERATING REVENUE. HOW MANY LIVES LOST OR SERIOUS
INJURIES HAVE HAD AT THESE INTERSECTIONS BECAUSE OF ILLEGAL LEFT
TURNS?YOU HAVE BEEN SOLD A BILL OF GOODS BY A CO. THAT HAS A HUGE AMOUNT
THEY CAN MAKE, BY CAUSING TREMENDOUSE HARDSHIP ON A LOT OF PEOPLE.I
DON,T LIVE IN AUBURN,DON,T KNOW ANYONE WHO HAS GOTTEN ONE OF THESE
CITATIONS, AND HAVE NOT HAD ONE MYSELF.I WILL NOT VISIT ANY BUSINESSES
IN AUBURN,AND HOPE THAT MANY OTHERS WILL NOT ALSO UNTIL THIS HIGHLY
OFFENSIVE IS DISMANTLED. JF

Thank you for giving me your opinion.

This was not done for income. Simple statement that Council and I have
all been adamant since the beginning that has been recorded for the
record each time.

The financial facts speak for themselves as the system was set up to be
breakeven over a period of years as we add additional intersections. We
have already posted every single four way intersection in our city with
signs notifying everyone of the red light photo enforcement but we
cannot and will not be concerned with those who do not care for the
lives of others.

What we are concerned about is the number of people who drive through
our community without care for those they may injure or kill by their
refusal to simply obey the law. Council got to the point of saying
enough is enough. Injuries have dropped, accidents have dropped. It
simply and specifically is more important to keep our people’s lives
safe than concern for an outsider’s need to get through our town without
respect for the laws or us.

34 thoughts on “Pay $101 and Say ‘Cheese’

  1. Enough is enough – is so ‘right’ – I feel downright giddy thinking the powers that be in ‘my town’ is smart enough to install cameras.
    YES!
    ________________
    “..
    ….Bremerton’s not shy about wanting to make some money for the program, enough for the officers….”
    _______________________
    Well, of course Bremerton should generate income from them… why ever not? The careless drivers will likely, one day, involve innocent folks …maiming or killing. The careless, disrespectful drivers do not belong on our roads.
    How perfect – using the cameras for revenue + teaching folks respect for our laws + the cameras will likely cut down on innocent people dying on our streets and roads by folks who either don’t know the rules of the road or simply don’t care.
    Fine them and confiscate their cars….whatever it takes to save innocent lives and add to our police force with the revenue.
    The very same police force we would not need if it were not for criminals.
    Possibly some of the same folks indifferent to driving laws are the criminals …they must be stopped.
    …and the ones who yell the loudest against the cameras?… well…….
    Congratulations, Bremerton, I am proud of you!

  2. The story begins by mentioning that the cameras will bring enough revenue to the city, to hire 5 new employees. It ends with the theory that drivers will learn to follow the laws, and reduce the incidence of law breaking. If the goal is reached of reduction of traffic infractions, then the money would have to come out of the budget from a different source.Why not just be honest, raise property taxes for the needed police? If there is a need, a secure and steady source of funds is required. If it is a “want”, it requires more debate, not another backhanded way of fining drivers. The best way of making the roads safer, is traffic officers in plain sight. It also would put more officers on hand for emergencies, accidents and property crimes.

  3. The idea of using cameras to catch speeders and people running traffic lights is a bad idea. It is another example of the short sighted failure of Bremerton’s leaders to think of ways to attract people to Bremerton. Who will want to go to Bremerton if you can get a ticket mailed to you if you happen to go through a yellow light that turns red while you are in the intersection, so that you can go downtown and get a parking ticket at a downtown parking meter? Wake up Bremerton, make it attractive for people to go to town, or they will continue to go to Silverdale.

  4. “Why not just be honest, raise property taxes for the needed police? If there is a need, a secure and steady source of funds is required. If it is a “want”, it requires more debate, not another backhanded way of fining drivers.”
    ___________________

    Honest? Raise property taxes for ALL to pay for police protection needed for the few criminals that prey on the rest of us?
    Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along?
    Why not let the driving law-breakers pay for the police needed to protect the general populace from the law-breakers?
    Do you suppose it is the careless driver, the law-breaker driver that might be the very driver to kill and maim innocent children out on our roads?
    It sure is not the folks who drive legally.
    Let the driving law-breaker pay AND get their car/truck confiscated.

  5. It is nice that the city is at least being honest about their greed. They say right off that the purpose of this program is raising revenue, not increasing safety. So what happens when these cameras eventually decrease the number of people running the lights, as the supporters claim will happen? The city’s revenue stream will decrease below the $1 million a year they hope to make and they’ll have to make it up somehow. Those ways will include shortening/randomizing yellow light times, equipment “malfunctions” that ticket everybody, no effective appeals, and other forms of legalized fraud. They’ll also have to come up with more cameras to find more things to fine people for: jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, etc. And I wonder if these cameras will detect city buses running the red lights, as I’ve seen more than once in the last week?
    To help achieve the city’s goal of increasing revenue and save everybody some hassle, I propose simply blocking off all the roads in/out of the city and charging tolls to come into Bremerton.

  6. As a retired Bremerton Police officer I don’t like camera cops. Bad idea. They mostly will anger people. What happened to due process? People are losing the right to be heard in court. First it was the infraction system. Now a camera. No one has said this yet; BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING.
    Most people in a free society voluntarily obey the law. If there is a problem with compliance, the first thing government should do is find out why that’s the case. I suspect that the cause of the so called ‘red light runners’ is poor engineering of the traffic system. And it’s my experience that people who INTENTIONALLY violate stop lights (yes, they’re ‘STOP’ lights) and exceed the speed limit within reason, are not likely to injure or kill anyone. They can see what they are doing and avoid accidents. It’s the driver who isn’t paying attention (negligent) that causes accidents. Of course there’s exceptions but are we willing to live in a police state? I hope not.

  7. Why would traffic cameras anger anyone?
    If the folks running red lights means running the red lights are okay because the lights are poorly engineered, then what is the excuse when someone robs another person?
    It okay because they didn’t share?
    If a woman gets raped, is it okay because she was wearing a low cut gown?
    Who decides which laws or rules are okay to break because they are inconvenient? You?

  8. What is the fuss about?
    I doubt that most folks care. They’re not worried about the cameras… and most certainly will not leave Bremerton to shop in Silverdale… they will be in Bremerton for other reasons….such as visiting the delightful new park down by the ferry.
    The ones who do complain…are likely the same ones running the red light and committing other infractions to cause a fine leveled against them.
    Just pay it…

  9. What is bothering about this project is that it is not for public safety it is for revenue generating. The the cameras were placed at high accident or high incident locations there should be no issues with the project.

    What else will the city do to insure the success of the project? How about shorten cycles of traffic signals? Would a short yellow cycle make it easier to catch scofflaws?

    What if the project is so successful that it can be expanded to provide funding for other positions or better yet it can go into the general fund for pet projects.

    As some other readers have said as a resident of Bremerton I don’t feel welcome downtown as it is. The city fathers have made it quite clear downtown is for the visitors and not for the people who live here.

    It’s also about trust and wondering why public safety must beg for funding. This project is nearly as good as the speed traps of the south where out of state/town motorists were subjected to extortion by the local police.

    For those who say, “pay it,” think about the purpose of the project. Is it there to keep you and your family safe on the street or is it there as another tax and spend tactic of the city fathers?

    How about more stringent enforcement of drivers who drive without a drivers license or continue to drive while their license is suspended or do not have insurance?

    By the way, do you really think the cameras will change peoples habits? What will happen is more people will move to the street in front of your house to avoid the speed traps. Then do you think your children and pets will be safe?

  10. Yes, I believe the cameras will change peoples poor driving habits…simply because running a red light will cost them. And if it doesn’t change their poor driving habit, so be it. The city will gain lots of revenue…many times from the same people. A smart person won’t let it happen the second time.
    We are speaking of cameras…not ‘speed traps’ and I don’t understand why the cameras are ‘bad’ if they are used to gather revenue?
    For Heaven’s Sake…if a driver is careful to follow the ‘rules’ they had to know to get a drivers license, they will NOT run red lights and other infractions…s/he will not pay anything.
    For that matter, what is wrong with ‘speed traps’? The speeder gets a ticket, the non-speeder does not.
    The ‘trap’ is to catch those drivers breaking driving laws and make them pay. If they do not speed, they won’t get a ticket…what is so wrong with that?
    If folks are encouraged to drive without regard for the driving rules …let us get rid of all the law enforcement people too – we won’t need them.
    Where does one draw the line?
    I am finding downtown Bremerton a most welcome place to consider living…but lack of safe cycling paths make living there a health issue…like getting hit by a car might send the cyclist to HMC…a definite health issue..

  11. I think it’s a great idea. Let those who break the law pay for the extra law enforcement to keep us all safer. I hope it works so well that Poulsbo will consider a camera at Bond and 305.

  12. I can’t say that I would agree with having traffic cameras at intersections UNLESS there were no restrictions on using the video or stills as evidence of other crimes that just HAPPEN to be filmed. If the camera catches someone being murdered, they couldn’t use that as evidence – that is GARBAGE.

  13. Finally!! I am so glad to see this is finally happening!I am 100% in favor of cameras at red lights. Just because people are in such a big hurry to get to their destination does NOT mean they are going to arrive at their destination any faster by running a red/yellow light. They may not arrive at all. I too am guilty of running these lights on occasion and the first time I have to pay a fine I know I will be MORE careful and not be in such a big hurry the next time. If having cameras is going to bring in more revenue to hire more men and women in uniform to make our county a safer place to live then GO FOR IT! You have my support!!

  14. It’s all about THE MONEY. Law enforcement agencies are turning more and more of their attention to generating revenue than “serving and protecting” the public. As long as we have the methamphetamine problem that we do, our local “officials” should be forced to focus on that and not on new and inventive ways of separating the working man from his paycheck. Of course there ain’t no money in busting tweakers.

  15. About ‘speed traps’. They’re illegal.
    A speed trap is not made up of a cop working radar. It’s a location of roadway with a suddenly lower speed limit for no apparent reason AND is being ‘worked’ by law enforcement for the purpose of making money. Kinda like red-light cameras.

  16. Blue Light: Your statement is founded on the logic that focus on generating revenue detracts from “serving and protecting” the public.

    In fact, the added revenue pays for additional officers to “protect and serve.”

    You have a problem with this why?

  17. “Speed trap
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A police officer checking speed with a hand-held radar device.
    A police officer checking speed with a hand-held radar device.

    The term speed trap refers to a point where speed limits are strictly enforced by police. It is generally understood as meaning a specific location in which police wait in concealment. For example, a police car might wait behind a bridge or overpass, out of sight of approaching motorists, but has also been applied to locations where a speed camera is posted.

    In California traffic law, evidence obtained from a speed traps (as specifically defined, see “Speed trap” in California traffic law) is not admissible. A speed trap usually means a speed limit that is arbrtrarily set, not related to prevailing speeds or hidden dangers, or a speed limit that is enforced by manually measuring travel times over a measured distance. Photo enforcement for traffic signals measure vehicle speeds to set the beginning of the yellow signal indication phase. Some courts have ruled that this is not a speed trap.

    The term speed trap is usually used by motorists, not by enforcement officers. It may be considered pejorative, and use of the term may suggest the appearance of speed enforcement by concealed means or excessively strict speed enforcement.

    Speed traps have been used since the beginning of the 20th Century as a means to enforce speed limits, and Britain’s Automobile Association was set up specifically to notify members of speed traps.

    Cities or road sections become known as speed traps where police have a reputation for writing an unusually high number of traffic tickets, especially speeding tickets. Sometimes the posted speed limits are not easily seen; in other places, the limits might be set excessively low.

    Speed traps often are found in small towns, often near major highways, in which travelers are less likely to return and challenge a ticket. Speed trap towns typically have an unusually large percentage of their local workforce dedicated to traffic law enforcement or judiciary occupations. Furthermore, traffic fines make up an unusually large percentage of income for speed trap towns….”

    …as a matter of fact, I once went out on such duties… at no time was a speed limit changed. The positions we checked were usually in plain sight, but most folks did not notice us…. and yes, got ticketed.
    If it were your child hit by a motorist speeding in a school zone, would you not be the first one to wonder why the speed law had not been enforced..or so-called “speed-traps” not been set up?
    Again, I have no experience or knowledge of anything other than straightforward good police work on catching speeders… and ticketing them… YES!

  18. Greg; So, when you watched Robin Hood, you rooted for the Sheriff of Nottingham? Carry out your logic and we’ll all be “protected” from our money and “served” by a police state.

  19. If the laws of this country are so despised and ridiculed by you, why not find another country with fewer laws?
    Or, better yet…get involved in the process. CHANGE THE LAWS YOU DON’T LIKE.
    If a ‘police state’ means we pay law enforcement people to see that citizens are protected from the criminal types – usually those protesters and breakers of any rules or laws – so be it.
    Get arrested, go to jail.
    Good-by.

  20. You can guarantee a person’s safety?
    Gosh, that’s great. I’d thought no amount of $ in the world can do that. Freedom? We live here and have the ‘freedom’ to disagree.
    A non police state might work where we have regard for others and consideration of their rights.
    I am surprised that you prefer no police, no laws in light of our present day criminal activity.
    Are you able to guarentee that criminals will not hurt or rob other people?
    If so, wouldn’t that mean only the weathy can afford your ‘guarentee safety’ claim?
    Maybe the Tooth Fairy can…

  21. I disagree with installing cameras. There are emergency situations that the Camera is not going to see such as a medical emergency where you need to get to a hospital ASAP. Another thing what happened to freedom? Video taping the city? That is taking our freedom away. I am totally against this!

  22. This Camera is just going to bring more business to the attorneys that fight traffic infractions so the revenue may not even increase. I also agree with Fred! I drive a flashy car and i have gotten a ticket when i wasn’t speeding, the car that was suppose to get the ticket was a 4 door sedan, gold color that passed me! Hmm i wonder who they are gonna pick a flashy sports car or a family car. This is a bad idea. I agree with Fred this is taking away the freedom and the right to a FAIR trial!

  23. Another thing, what happens when people start using licnense plate covers that will over flash the picture to where the license is unreadable? Revenue will start going down the drain when people start doing that.

  24. What about the accidents on back roads. That’s where people speed. A traffic Camera wouldn’t have stopped the fatal accident on Silverdale Loop Rd. No Camera would have stopped that because that accident didn’t happen at an intersection. Most accidents are among teenagers that lack experience. They learn by their mistakes. Most fatal accidents do not happen at intersections. They happen on back roads where they are going to fast or another incident which was on highway 3 towards hood canal and a car swerved over the median and hit a Semi. That wasn’t at an intersection! Most fatal accidents are not at intersections. Plus without traffic cameras when cops pull people over that’s how they can get people that have outstanding warrants, and sometimes drug busts. A traffic Camera is not going to do that.

  25. “…Another thing, what happens when people start using licnense plate covers that will over flash the picture to where the license is unreadable? …”
    _______________________
    Seems to me covering up your license plate is a deliberate act of breaking the law and should be ticketed.
    A traffic camera does what the name implies…and cannot possibly stop people from alcohol/drug/ drunk driving, hitting, maiming, hurting innocent people.
    I know folks who go to court to protest a ticket. – no lawyers needed to tell your story to the judge why you believe the ticket is unwarranted.
    One person I know went back to the scene of a driving ticket and took pictures of the speed limit sign and the area……to show visually in court why he should not be ticketed.
    The judge dismissed the charge.
    I once did the same thing for someone else. An older gentleman.
    He was being harangued for damages by someone claiming he had failed to stop at a 4-way stop and hit her.
    The fact is that corner was then, and is now, a caution light and he had the right of way.
    Protest what you believe to be an unfair ticket…the judge may lower the fine or drop the charge entirely.

  26. Put ’em up and get the muther “bleepers” that run lights and almost t-bone your car with your children inside off the damn road. Put them through drivers training again! Thank god the city is making money on getting these idiots off the street. I am from Washington and I have never seen the type of drivers I am forced to drive with in Bremerton and Silverdale. I commuted I-5 and I-405 between Federal Way and Bellevue for 5 years. never have I seen more horrible drivers than when I had to relocate over here. Everytime I see someone FLOOR it to get through the RED light. I wish they would hit the phone pole! I do not feel sorry for them and damn them for putting their children in danger along with mine. Get a clue people. That is why there is a yellow light. I am thinking these people came from towns that only have one 4-way stop. I do not think they have ever dealt with stop lights before. To educate: the Yellow one means slow down!! Think about how many lifes you are endangering when you run the light after it has been red for multiple seconds. You deserve what you get!!!!! And for all those complaining about how much money Bremerton is getting for this, you must not have children. I see people go through the red light when children are leaving school and barely miss the child. Where are peoples priorities??

  27. Blue Light: Police state? Cool your jets. We’re talking about a camera here.

    Sheena: The evidence the camera generates can then be used in court to prove your innocence. It may be a little inconvenient if you happen to be in such a situation to show up in court, but that is a weak argument against providing the means to have more cops on the beat.

    In any case, the City has to prove by a preponderence of the evidence. If the thing caught you breaking the law, that’s your own fault.

    And obviously you can’t, nor you shouldn’t put cameras everywhere. But one is better than none.

    Kim: We’re on the same page. Good points.

  28. Sharon: You can go ahead and think that. I will let everyone i can know about a license plate cover that i can. Especially since cops can be a bit prejudice to the type of car you drive which is what’s unfair. But I rarely see people run a red light. People don’t do it on purpose it’s usually an accident or lack of depth perception. You don’t tell an attorney your story, they look into the technicality’s of the ticket such as was the radar gun calibrated that day? things like that. That’s how they get tickets dismissed!

    What happens if someone else is driving your car that isn’t registered in their name or there is more than one person registered on that vehicle? You may get a ticket when you didn’t even drive the car that day. What happened to defensive driving? You don’t just pull out in the intersection as soon as it turns green, you look before you go to make sure the proper cars stopped. That’s part of defensive driving. The yellow lights stay yellow at different lengths at different lights. The one at Brownsville Highway and Wheaton Way stays yellow longer than in the city.

  29. Sheena R… I have also gone through yellow lights when stopping wasn’t an option…unless I wanted the car behind me to hit.
    And one of my pet peeves…people following too close. I KNOW it is unlawful to drive too close to the car ahead…but if I am driving the car ahead, its my responsibility to do my best not to get hit.
    Lack of depth perception usually means the person cannot get a drivers license.
    In the county I lived in, one told their story to the JUDGE.
    If a person denies going the speed the officer claims..knowing the machine was calibrated would be crucial…or so it seems.
    But all we’re talking about here are traffic cameras… and I am 100% for them and for the revenue the city will generate.

  30. The issue is one of responsibility. The car owner/s must be held responsible (unless car is stolen) for the actions of the driver…and the car must be confiscated….and yes, it is ‘fair’ to make the punishment felt.
    Next time the owner/s will be more careful in loaning their car out…because nothing is less fair than for a drunk/impaired driver to hit, maim, and kill innocent people.
    It is time the system begins to look long and hard at the victims of PREVENTABLE crimes … and get the drunks off our roads…

  31. Its simple people. Quit running lights. If you see me in my big SUV flashing my lights at you, its because your an ass and running the red light. You deserve to be hit and ticketed as much as possible. GO BREMERTON. Make that money!! Unfortunatly our Bremerton Police do nothing about this. Yeah I have flashed my lights at them to for none other than running a red light. I have also looked over at them and asked why? when the person in front of them clearly ran the light. Ignorant lazy officers. They are obviously not arresting the crack head shooting up on the sidewalk near my home. Or responding to the domestic abuse that I hear at my neighbors. hummm called twice and never showed up! Did you get that drunk I called about that was in the Chevron and about to get in his car and drive off?? Probably not. Where are you Mr. Officer??? Thank god the cameras will get the red light running idiots because the police won’t do it.

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