This may be my last post for 2011, and I’m going to keep it short.
I have a wish for the city in 2012, which quickly approaches.
There’s been tons of furor, chatter, theorizing and even anger about photo radar enforcement in recent days. Links here, here and here for example.
The contract with ACS comes up for renewal late next year. Many, including city alderman Scott Fielding, want the program to die a quick death.
I say no. I say keep it. On a few conditions.
1. That there be an admission by powers that be that the program exists to create revenue, with safety effects a contributing factor, as well, the contract with ACS should also be made public.
2. That the city divorce the administration of the program from the Winnipeg Police Service.
3. Following 2, that as the city mulls setting up a Transportation Authority as its currently doing, the photo enforcement program be controlled and administered by same.
This authority should also have an ombudsman position to arbitrate public complaints about the use of photo radar.
The biggest problem I personally have with the program is that it tarnishes the reputation of the police service, especially when the service itself has not much to do with the administration of the program. it ain’t cops sitting in those mobile radar cars, folks.
Quite frankly, it’s just embarrassing for the cops to be called on the carpet each time there’s public outcry about the tactics employed.
As well, divorcing the responsibility from the police would help cure old wounds that photo radar takes, in some way, a boni fide policing job away from the police.
The three measures listed, I believe, would increase accountability around the program and it’s uses.
It would also diminish the damage it’s done to the reputation of the police service over time.