SPEEDERS BEWARE: Ferriday considers new traffic monitoring system to crack down on violations

Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2022

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FERRIDAY, La. — Officials are considering a traffic monitoring system to slow speeders and generate revenue through automated tickets and fines.

During their Tuesday meeting, the Ferriday mayor and Board of Aldermen heard a presentation from Russel Sarpy of Emergent Enforcement Solutions about a traffic monitoring system with automated license plate readers.

The company performed a four-day traffic study on the main highway in the northern part of town last week, Sarpy said. In this four-day time span, the system caught nearly 3,000 vehicles speeding, including 2,317 going 10 mph over the posted speed limit; 569 going 15 mph over; and 145 going 25 mph over, Sarpy said.

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“What these numbers represent is that you do have a speeding problem,” he said. “But it also represents a monetary figure that you guys could benefit from based on being able to collect these violations.”

The company provides the equipment and monitoring system free of charge to the municipalities it serves, and the company profits on the speeding tickets issued. The company collects $54 on each traffic citation, including tickets that are dismissed.

While the system requires no contract for the town, Sarpy said officials would have the option to contract additional personnel through the company to monitor the traffic violations that the system picks up and process the tags so that the tickets can be issued. Also, having a law enforcement officer monitoring each violation the system flags also opens the door for the town to catch every expired plate, uninsured driver or stolen vehicle that passes through – generating additional revenues, Sarpy added.

“Our system allows complete control by the municipality, meaning you guys set the fine amounts; you guys adjudicate the tickets and issue warning tickets to whom you think should get warning tickets; and set reduced amounts for warning tickets. You can dismiss tickets, but there is a cost associated with dismissing a ticket.”

While the town could reap revenue from the system, “Our main purpose is to slow people down for safety reasons,” Mayor Rydell Turner said.

Ferriday Police Chief Sam King said the town could benefit from the service and requested that any additional revenue that comes from it be earmarked first for offering health insurance to town employees. Ferriday currently doesn’t have a health insurance option for any of its employees. King said whatever revenue comes to the town after that could be used by Ferriday Police Department since his department would have to provide additional manpower to issue the citations and take calls from civilians about the citations.

“I believe the system is a good system,” he said. “Obviously, there are some challenges with it that we can address but I believe that it is something that we can use here in Ferriday. From a revenue standpoint, no one can argue that we cannot use it and this could generate funds.”

Alderwoman Gail Pryor asked that the town take the presentation under advisement to give them time to make the right decision. No further action was taken on the matter.