Speed cameras coming to Hamilton County

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Officials in Hamilton County have approved the purchase of two speed detection lasers equipped with cameras.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/1ffpvae) reports the 5-4 vote came Wednesday night after some contentious debate and no public notice.

The devices will allow deputies to send speeding tickets to drivers without pulling them over.

Commissioner Tim Boyd opposed the measure, saying there’s no way to tell who is driving a vehicle if a deputy doesn’t make contact. He said a car owner could get a ticket even if a friend or relative was actually behind the wheel.

Commissioner Greg Beck supported the measure, saying it would make it safer for deputies to do their job.

Sheriff Jim Hammond said owners are ultimately responsible for their vehicles.

The county will enter into a contract with Brentwood-based Applied Technology Partners, which will supply the cameras and send out civil speeding tickets to the car’s registered owner. Company President John McConnell told commissioners that residents can contest the $50 tickets by signing a sworn affidavit stating they weren’t driving.

That didn’t change Boyd’s mind.

“I don’t like fee-grabbing in any community, and I don’t want to give our officers a toy to increase revenue,” Boyd said. “I have deep issues with private entities getting involved in profiting off … peoples’ mistakes.”

“This is not a toy,” Hammond responded.

The discussion occurred during a combined agenda and voting session, which meant the public learned about the issue shortly before the meeting began.

Hammond said deputies would use the devices only in school zones, construction zones and “other problem areas.”

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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