Following the Monday’s support from Rome city commissioners concerning the installation of school zone traffic cameras in front of Rome High School, city school board members held their own discussion on the topic during their meeting this week.
The Rome City Schools board will have to approve the contract with RedSpeed USA, a company that installs the cameras, before the company installs its ticket-writing cameras in front of city schools.
Superintendent Lou Byars, who was present at the RedSpeed presentation Monday night, gave the board a rundown of what the organization will do as well as what will happen to those who speed through the school zone.
Board Chair Faith Collins asked how the cameras will stop someone from speeding through the school zone since only a fine is levied and no points against their driver’s license.
“Wouldn’t it be more effective to have a policeman pull them over?” she asked.
Byars said he is still looking into the program and has more questions to ask, but there will be a $75 fine issued to the owner of the vehicle for every occurrence. He added the zone in which the cameras are active will have large signs a certain distance from where the cameras will be stationed to caution drivers to slow down.
“We can’t always be all places at all times,” Police Chief Denise Downer-McKinney said Monday night. “This is just another avenue to safeguard our children.”
Byars, along with Jason Self, director of safety and security for the system, and the Rome city commissioners were told by Greg Parks of RedSpeed there would be no cost to the system or the city. The company installs the cameras for 35% of the revenue collected from the speeding tickets with the remaining 65% to be used for public safety.
Board Member John Uldrick asked if some of that money could be used to fund safety officers in the city school system, Byars said he isn’t sure but would inquire. The superintendent added he has been told the main conflict the system and the police department run into is an officer shortage. Several of the officers who guard the schools are working overtime when they act as safety officers.
Byars told the board once the cameras in front of the Rome high and middle schools are established the system will look at adding a similar zone in front of Main Elementary on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Byars said from there the system will evaluate where the cameras will be most effective.
The superintendent told the board he has more questions for the company — like if the cameras will run all day during school or only in during drop off and pick up — before he brings a resolution before the members.