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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news February 5, 2016

6/24/2013 8:21:00 AM
Prescott Valley to deploy officers on patrol when photo enforcement ends
Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

Ken Hedler
Special to the Tribune

The Police Department will put more officers on the streets after the town's contract for photo enforcement with Redflex Traffic Systems ends Oct. 3.

Interim Police Chief James Edelstein briefed the Town Council Thursday on the department's plans for cracking down on speeders and red-light runners when photo enforcement ends.

"It is difficult to predict what exactly is going to happen when photo enforcement goes away," Edelstein said. He said he will re-assign an officer to the traffic division and other officers to patrol once photo enforcement stops.

The Police Department currently assigns two officers to photo enforcement within the traffic division.

Three officers on patrol are certified to handle traffic, Edelstein said. The department has 64 sworn officers.

The goal is for officers to make at least one traffic stop a day, Edelstein said.

Edelstein spoke to the council a day after he announced that he reassigned Lt. Wayne Nelson, who was in charge of photo enforcement, to other duties and removed Sgt. Mark Postula from photo-enforcement duties within the traffic division as disciplinary measures.

He took those actions in response to an independent audit, released March 1, that determined police dismissed 22 violations involving family members who drove officers' private vehicles. Postula reportedly admitted that he rejected seven speeding violations involving his wife over a four-year period.

The audit and a bribery scandal in Chicago involving Redflex led council members in March to revisit their support of photo enforcement. Council members at a March 21 meeting said they did not want to renew the contract with Redflex.

The revelations added fury to opposition of photo radar that has been around since its start in Prescott Valley. Critics have characterized it as Big Brother and believed they found it hard to challenge their accuser: a camera.

Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye expressed concerns Thursday about the absence of photo enforcement putting children more in danger on her street while acknowledging people "hated those (Redflex) vans."

Councilman Michael Whiting questioned Edelstein about the upcoming removal of red-light cameras near the entrance of Bradshaw Mountain High School at Glassford Hill Road and Long Look Drive.

Edelstein said two traffic division officers spend 90 percent of their time on motorcycles, adding three officers are certified for motorcycle duty.

Motorcycles are more effective in traffic enforcement, Edelstein said.

Edelstein said after his talk that he can report back to the council one year after photo enforcement goes away.

A sergeant on patrol when photo enforcement began in October 2006, Edelstein has taken the positions of his predecessors by claiming photo enforcement has led to fewer accidents by encouraging drivers to slow down.

Related Stories:
• Prescott Valley officers disciplined in photo radar flap
• PVPD officers challenging disciplinary action in photo radar probe
• Prescott Valley cop nixed wife's 7 photo radar tickets

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013
Article comment by: resham mann

So if it's a holiday and no traffic on the streets, will the traffic officers go looking for any infraction such as my car improperly parked in my driveway just to fulfill the quota?

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Edward A

Maybe they can get some more K9 units, pull people over for no reason and catch the many drug sellers in PV. It works on I-17 and I-40.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: russ ahrens

How can Interim Police Chief Edelstein make a goal of at least "one traffic stop" per day? Is this a threat or a prediction? Either way it implies motives that might be unwarranted. Glad your cameras are gone and that your council invoked common sense on this issue.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: No Need For More Officers

There is no need to hire more officers. Two have already been removed from their positions back to patrol operations. Every patrol officer has a responsibility to perform street enforcement with some (motors) as their primary duty. Too many officers have used the photo radar as their crutch to avoid citizen contact on traffic stops and by doing so, lost some valuable skills in communications and officer safety. As for engineering for traffic flow/speeds. Yes they do select average speeds from monitoring and then forward it to council/police for recommendations. The problem is determining a true safe speed, as monitoring takes place with posted speed signage already up. Thus what in all reality may be a safe and prudent speed is no longer legal.
In the end with photo radar gone, the officer once again gets an opportunity or is forced to see more intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, absconders with warrants, suspicious activity than they took the effort to see before. And unlike Prescott, working traffic will legally be done in Clearly Marked Police Units.

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: to Bob Builder and Craig Arps

Bob- seriously how would you like YOUR brother sister mother father to approach a vehicle?? Do you even realize that the "routine traffic stop" is when MOST officer are shot to DEATH?!?

Craig- as far as it being a choice.... what about when your choice to speed ends my life?? Or your choice to speed wrecks MY car?? Isn't that why we hire officers? To enforce the law?? Speed limits are designated not by cops but by engineers as to what is safe for the traffic that will flow through that street. It's not arbitrary. . . it's actually science. I see that some people feel it's no big deal... that is until speed is the deciding factor between someone living or dying in an accident... just saying your agrument is invalid....

although I am glad to see that they are going to use officers for the traffic control I'd rather see a hard working person out there any day.... but that means that the town will need to HIRE more officers to keep the LAW... yes speeding is illegal. Shocking I know )

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Kim Jady

Good point by Bob Builder about the entitlement mentality of these guys. They can let their wives and girlfriends off with cameras or on a live stop.

22 acts of favoritism and these perpetrators get reassigned? They call that discipline? Someone with a real job would be fired. What unmitigated hypocrisy.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Craig Arps

There are some risks that we as a society must be willing to accept if we wish to live as free people. Our elected representatives and law enforcement must understand this and recognize that the safety of every individual at all times is primarily their own responsibility and that of their parents in the case of children. I commend the council for allowing this program to sunset, however grudgingly for some of them.
Photo radar may indeed make us safer, but then again so would locking us all away like they did to the Japanese-Americans in WW2. Unfortunately, the positive effects of liberty are often more subtle and less immediately felt then the negative effects of the tragedies and violations we seek to curb. We must have the maturity to realize that we benefit in the aggregate as a free people when we are allowed to make our own choices and bear our own responsibilities. It is only through hindsight and history that we understand that a loss of liberty by a steady chipping of good intentions is truly the most tragic thing that can happen to any people and has brought more destruction and death then has been prevented.
When we seek to balance the two we must see that public safety is only valid as a necessary but subordinate element of liberty. We the people should understand that we do not have government to keep us safe, but to keep us free.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Builder

"Be careful what you wish for" "Better of two evils" The bottom line is that although we all hated the ugly cameras and the poor unexpecting tourists left with a bad taste from them to never return. Guess WHAT??? A corrupt force can still pick and choose WHO to issue tickets to and now they will be hiding behind bushes,fences etc. At least with the ugly cameras the cops stayed at the local donut hole.Now when you get pulled over for anything expect a Barney Fife to stand next to your car with his hand on his pistol as if you are a hardened criminal.

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