I’d like to discuss an issue that recently came before Council that received unanimous approval, but I would have voted against. The approval authorized Longmont PD to conduct a trial test of sound camera enforcement equipment. In a nutshell this technology listens to cars driving by, and if one is too loud a photo is taken and the driver ticketed by mail. During the approved four week test no tickets will be issued.

I’ve never been a fan of photo enforcement technology, whether it comes as red light cameras, speed cameras, or the new technology of sound enforcement. In my opinion it violates the social contract the community has with City Council regarding the enforcement of local ordinances. In general we want laws to be enforced, but we also don’t want to live under constant surveillance.

Beyond the technology itself, it is often advanced as a way to relieve a police department of the “burden” of enforcing traffic laws, and instead be free to pursue more serious crimes. This is, in fact, the exact line of reasoning some council members pursued while voicing their approval for the test. In my opinion this is disingenuous and a false benefit.

Let us instead demand our police department is adequately funded at an appropriate level rather than seeking ways to justify what is now an obviously understaffed force.

In 2010, while on Longmont’s Transportation Advisory Board, I wrote an op-ed regarding photo enforcement. Read it HERE or view the image below.


Gary Hodges

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