Lacombe will soon have the robotic eyes of speed cameras patrolling some of its streets.
Lacombe’s new photo radar program, managed by Integrated Traffic Services, has just begun its initial phase and will begin actual enforcement of Lacombe’s speed laws in the coming weeks, said Chris Clark, community peace officer for the City of Lacombe.
Right now, the program is in its mandatory warning phase in Lacombe, said Clark. This is to let people know that the program is now active and to warn those who are offending that they will be receiving tickets for these offences in the near future.
Clark added that this initial phase is mandatory for one month.
There is a certain criteria that must be met in an area or roadway in order for it to be enforced using photo radar. Clark said that Integrated Traffic Services is going through Lacombe to identify which areas fit these criteria and will come up with a list of roads that can be patrolled with photo radar. This list will go to the Lacombe Police Service, who will determine which roads should be patrolled with photo radar and what allowances will be made for vehicles traveling over the speed limit.
While it will have little connection with the program other than these initial decisions, Steve Murray, Chief of Lacombe Police Service, said that the Integrated Traffic Services will be a helpful tool in managing speeders and keeping Lacombe streets safe.
Murray said that a growing city like Lacombe has needs in speed enforcement that cannot always be met by the police. Problem areas for speeding exist in the City, especially in school and playground zones and it is impossible for the police to be everywhere at once.
“Of course the police service has finite resources and we simply cannot get to all these places in an effective way to manage them all,” said Murray. He added that if they could, the police service would put an officer in every playground and school zone all the time and no one would ever speed.
“We don’t want to catch people speeding, we want them to stop doing it,” said Murray. He went on to say that enforcement is something of a last resort when police and municipalities work on managing speeds.
Before handing out tickets, they try to manage speeds through engineering by designing roads a certain way and putting signage in certain areas. Murray added that educating people, clearly posting speed limits and times that areas like school and playground zones are in effect, is also used before enforcement.
“If the engineering and the education haven’t worked, the only thing left is enforcement,” said Murray. “You have to touch people in the pocketbook to get their attention.”
Murray added that the Lacombe Police Service will continue its own speed enforcement in addition to the Integrated Traffic Services Program.
Integrated Traffic Services will be handling nearly all of the logistics of the program themselves, said Clark. He said the company handles all the tickets, complaints and deals with the court system on its own. There is also room to expand the program to include signal and red light enforcement but Clark said that at this time the City of Lacombe only has priority on speed enforcement.
Once decided, the roads being enforced by photo radar will be advertised in local media, said Clark. Roads being covered by photo radar may also swap around a bit, he added.