Portable camera towers to nab speeders in Scottsdale school zones

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 2 at 12:13 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After several days of testing, the Scottsdale Police Department is ready to deploy a new kind of photo-enforcement tool called a portable school tower.

Designed specifically to increase safety in school zones, the devices are about the size of a phone booth and can be moved easily to different locations as needed.

The Scottsdale Police Department has two portable school towers and plans to rotate them among the city's 31 schools starting next month.

Earlier this month, the department tested the towers on a section of Miller Road near the Eldorado Aquatics Center and the Barker Boys and Girls Clubs branch.

While no citations were issues, Officer David Pubins of the Scottsdale Police Department said the cameras recorded 130 violations in three days.

The towers' size gives the police department quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to placement.

"These are much smaller [than the photo radar vans]," Pubins said Tuesday morning, which means they can be set up in more locations, including school zones. "There are 31 schools here in the city of Scottsdale. In about half of them, our photo-enforcement vans can't fit within those school zones to help keep the kids safe. These devices are going to fit in those areas where the photo-enforcement vans wouldn't."

The goal is simple: Keep Scottsdale's kids safe.

"This is the result of our commitment to work with our corporate partners to deploy the best tools available which helps keep the streets safer," Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell said in a news release.

Most photo-enforcement cameras -- both stationary and mobile -- go off at 11 mph over the posted speed limit. The portable school towers are set to trigger at 6 mph over the posted speed limit in school zones.

When school is not in session, the towers will be placed in other areas where there is high pedestrian traffic and many kids. In those areas, the towers will be triggered at 11 mph over the limit.

Pubins said there will be warning signs leading up to the towers when they are deployed.

While the new battery-operated portable school towers are out and operational now, citations based on data from the cameras will start going out after July 21.

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