Pinal Cty. sheriff leads protest against speed cameras

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PINAL COUNTY - The growing chorus of photo radar critics now includes a local sheriff.

As Sheriff Paul Babeu goes public a man with an emotional stake in the matter is also speaking out in favor of speed cameras.

Hundreds were expected at a protest on Saturday outside the local company that makes photo radar cameras. The cameras are not coming down yet but Shawn Dow and fellow members of CameraFraud.com hope their next protest will help make it happen.

On Saturday the group headed to Redlex's local headquarters with Pinal County Sheriff Babeu at the helm. Babeu had the camera enforcement scrapped from his county after he took office, arguing real officers, not cameras, should protect the public.

The anti-camera cause got a boost this week when the incoming director of the Department of Public Safety criticized the system.

On the other side are those who say the cameras are a source of revenue the state cannot afford to lose.

For people like Frank Hinds who lost his daughter to a red-light runner more than a decade ago, the cameras are a matter of life and death. He says, “These folks who are protesting the way they are to do away with the cameras, I doubt whether any of them have experienced the kind of loss I have and other members of our group have.”

Hinds’ organization, "Red Means Stop," champions traffic safety.

Sheriff Babeu says people who tell you that photo radar cuts down on traffic fatalities are wrong. “Guess what? They have decreased all across America and the majority of America doesn't use photo safety.”

Sheriff Babeu was the first person to sign a camera fraud petition to get the photo radar issue on the November ballot. The group needs 300,000 signatures by July 1 to make that happen, so Saturday’s protest will also be about getting more signatures on paper. As for Redflex, a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.