The Photo Radar Camera Fight Comes to Scottsdale: Who’s Got It Right?

Photo Credit: AZ Central

Many parts of Arizona were early adopters to photo radar cameras for traffic law enforcement. Many of you have likely received an unwelcome letter in the mail with a picture of yourself and a bill due. Speed cameras have gone up and come down, and the debate has raged much of the time. Now the debate has gotten some more steam as conversations have heated back up about the topic, and attempts to squash them have earned a veto from Governor Katie Hobbs..

Most notably, along with that veto from Hobbs, two significant local figures are on the opposite side of this subject: Paradise Valley Police Chief Freeman Carney in favor, and Scottsdale-area State Representative Joseph Chaplik against it.

The view of Carney is easy to understand. Most importantly, they keep drivers in line and away from speeding in an area that is not designed for it. They allow the department to keep its relatively small number of officers from having to spend time enforcing these relatively minor issues and gives them the capacity to address more significant crimes. And to be frank, they’re a revenue generator for the town, which is important for taxes who do their best not to tax the citizenry.

As for Chaplik? His view is a variant of one within politics, spearheaded by state Senator Wendy Rogers calling them “an intrusion on our privacy” and “insidious” in her own unique brand of hyperbole. However Chaplik’s issue seems to be primarily related to 10% of proceeds going to fund Clean Elections campaigns; while the question of whether or not that’s what the funds she be used for is a valid one, it doesn’t invalidate or even comment on their usefulness or lack thereof.

For those who are concerned about them being “insidious”, these are often the same people who will gladly decry “out of control crime” and “lawlessness” in large liberal cities from one side of their mouth yet talk about how speed cameras are a violation of your rights in the other, apparently unaware or unwilling to confront the hypocrisy. If you don’t want cameras or cops attempting to keep your potentially destructive activities in check, perhaps they’d be better off in San Francisco?

Moreover, at least with cameras, there is little to no room for uneven enforcement. You know what speed you can drive and what you can’t. You know that you can’t run a red light. You don’t need to worry about a law enforcement officer fulfilling a quota and stretching enforceability. Perhaps some of this is a result of sour grapes from people who forgot to follow the rules, but it’s helpful to know what the rules are and that they’ll be enforced evenly and consistently.

More overarchingly though, what ever happened to personal responsibility? The camera doesn’t have a grudge, it is unbiased. If it says that you broke the rules, you almost certainly did. Considering that they free up law enforcement to keep us safe, keep our driving in line and also allow us to keep taxes low, it feels like the positives far outweigh the negatives.