A plan to install speed-detection cameras along public roads in school zones within Cedartown’s city limits got approval from the city commission last week but will need approval from the Polk County Board of Education in order to become a reality.
The Cedartown City Commission unanimously approved an ordinance and tentative contract with RedSpeed during its November meeting on Monday, Nov. 9.
Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome has discussed the possibility of partnering with the company to install cameras and license plate readers in front of schools inside the city limits to help catch speeding drivers and issue citations through vehicles’ license plates.
The system would be installed at no cost to the city, with RedSpeed collecting a small part of any fines collected through citations that come from the cameras. The option to place the cameras in school zones to catch speeding drivers is allowed by Georgia House Bill 978, which was passed into law during the 2018 legislative session.
The option to install the cameras must be approved by the Polk BOE in order to be official.
Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd has spoken with both the county commission and school board about putting the devices on the roadways in front of Van Wert Elementary and Youngs Grove Elementary, which are the only two schools located completely in the unincorporated part of the county.
Neither the commission or board of education have taken any action on the proposal.
If the city of Cedartown proposal gets final approval, cameras and signage warning drivers of the cameras would be placed near Cedartown High School, Cedartown Middle School, Northside Elementary and Cherokee Elementary.
The ordinance approved by the city commission allows the police department to enforce school zone speed limits through information collected from the cameras. The contract includes the scope of work RedSpeed would be responsible for and what the Cedartown Police Department would have access to, including footage from the cameras at any time to assist with investigations or other matters.
The cameras would be active 24 hours a day but only issue speed citations to vehicles caught speeding during normal school hours.
In other action, the commission also approved a request by the Cedartown Junior Service League to reserve Peek Park from April 23-25, 2021, for the 56th Annual Cedar Valley Arts Festival.
Amanda Gravett, festival chair, spoke to the commission and said they continue planning to hold the event April 24 and 25 while hoping that the situation with COVID-19 will allow them to hold it.