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Harford's Craig: 'No Desire' For Speed Cameras

Harford County Executive David Craig outlined his stance on speed cameras—and a number of other topics—on a radio show Tuesday afternoon.

Harford County Executive David Craig claims he's not a speeder—and he doesn't think he needs a camera to prove it.

Craig said on a radio show Tuesday afternoon that he has no interest in bringing speed cameras to the county.

On WYPR-FM's Midday with Dan Rodricks Tuesday, Craig said: "I was never in favor of speed cameras personally, myself, and neither was our delegation when they voted on that bill years ago. Our County Council is not in favor of it. There's just, generally, not any desire to do speed cameras [in Harford County]."

  » Listen to the audio here

The proof is in the action—or inaction.

While the county and its three municipalities—Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace—may have discussed the viability of speed cameras behind closed doors in the past, the conversation hasn't really hit daylight.

Aside from a brief mention in a 2011 Havre de Grace City Council meeting, speed cameras really haven't been discussed publicly around Harford County.

Aberdeen Mayor Michael Bennett said the city was given a demonstration on speed cameras near Aberdeen High School more than a year ago, but that's all.

"We really haven't done anything on it yet, but it has been talked about," Bennett said. "If the police chief comes back and says there's a need for it, we'll look at it in more detail. It's not an overriding concern right now."

Other municipalities around the state have adopted speed cameras.

In Baltimore City, where cameras recently ticketed a car stopped at a red light, the cameras are a hot topic.

But elsewhere, officials say cameras are working rather smoothly.

"Our system is totally different," Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said on Midday Tuesday.

"We use a laser technology" similar to a hand-held radar, he said.

Kamenetz went on to say the program in Baltimore County is accurate.

Also on Midday, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said Howard County also uses laser technology. He said Howard County looked to start slow, enforcing speed in school zones by camera, but also with two vans that enables the county to target areas of enforcement.

For now, Harford County commuters only need to worry about red light cameras.


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Dan Thompson January 09, 2013 at 01:14 PM
It appears that Mr. Craig forgot to mention Sheriff Bane’s desire to explore the use of speed cameras in Harford County. Thankfully, so many have come out opposed to the Sheriff’s idea, it is unlikely he will move forward on his plans. Jeff Gahler, who is running for Sheriff in 2014, also expressed his opposition to the speed cameras in a letter a couple of weeks ago that I read on another news site and I emailed him to find out why he did not send it to the Patch. Mr. Gahler indicated that he did, but was not sure why the patch decided not to run the letter. For those interested, the letter can be found here: http://www.daggerpress.com/2012/12/30/gahler-will-the-safety-of-our-students-wait-for-sheriff-banes-speed-camera-contract/
Robert Frisch January 09, 2013 at 01:56 PM
I am curious as to why the use of red light cameras are acceptable in Harford County but speed cameras are not. Government justification for placing red light cameras is for public safety and their placement is predicated on statistical analysis of crash data. When the data shows that accident rates have declined should red light cameras then be removed from that particular intersection? Speed is frequently the primary or contributing cause in many non intersection crashes, including several fatal and serious personal injury crashes in Harford County. Government has the ability to use the same process of data analysis to determine what would be the most appropriate placement of speed cameras to modify dangerous driver behaviors in the interest of public safety. Does anyone see an inconsistency of positions for and against red light and speed cameras?
James P. Miller January 09, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Speed Camera are only used for one reason aand thats to make money. I'm happy Mr. Craig doesen't support them. The Mayor of Havre de Grace was looking into the idea a couple years ago. He didn't have the support of the city council to have them installed. I watch a demo of one and told the contractor I would support them on two of the streets in the city near the schools, but not on the State road 155. The vender replied they would not make enough money to justify the cameras. I replied I thought it was about public safety. I would support a petition drive to have the law put up to a state wide referrendom vote to outlaw them in all jurisdictions. I know it's a tough battle with Montgomery, Princh Georges, Baltimore and Baltimore City balancing their budgets with the proceded.
James P. Miller January 09, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Nope. I agree with the red light cameras, not speed cameras. Most people think the rule is right turn after slowing down, not after stop.
Sheeple January 09, 2013 at 02:51 PM
We should have speed cameras so we can lay off cops and save quite a bit of money and also make money from the cameras!
John Wayne January 09, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I would support mobile speed cameras that rotated to the different school zones to keep our kids safer and/or to high problem areas. A fixed speed camera won't change drivers' habits.
John Kessler January 09, 2013 at 03:06 PM
I just read through Mr. Gahler's letter and glad to see he is opposed to these cameras. I looked through the links from Mr. Gahler's letter and read the Fiscal and Policy Note (http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2012rs/fnotes/bil_0004/hb1044.pdf) attached to the failed legislation proposed last year and it is clear that it is all about the money. Please do not let Sheriff Bane put his cameras in Harford County!
AG January 09, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Speed cameras have nothing to do with safety. Baltimore County had the nerve to put one up 6 blocks away from an elementary school that was closed for renovation and claim it was for the safety of the children.
James P. Miller January 09, 2013 at 03:57 PM
People like to use the argument it's for the childrens safety. That's hard to argue against, but the real fact of the matter is you can't legislate your childs safety or behavior. That has to come from the parents. Remember the book Everything I needed to learn I learned in kindergarden. While on the city council one parent complained about cars driving too fast on the major collector road in front of the house. She asked where are her children supposed to play? It's not safe for them to play in the street. To quote Bill Engvall "here's your sign."
Dan Thompson January 09, 2013 at 04:20 PM
it is curious that this story fail to mention Sheriff Bane's exploration of speed cameras and this site also decided not to print Mr. Gahler's letter. I had hopes that the Patch had higher standards of reporting the full story. If I wanted to read slanted stories, I would just buy the Aegis.
Robert Frisch January 09, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Mr. Miller, I see that you believe there are legitimate circumstances, and specific locations can be identified, where the use of speed cameras as a means to enforce laws that were enacted for public safety would be appropriate. Many citizen complaints received by law enforcement agencies involve traffic conditions, speeding being the most prevalent. Responding to these complaints takes manpower away from what many believe should be the primary purpose of law enforcement which is to prevent crime or arrest the perpetrators. Simply from a practical point of view if the selection of speed camera sites could be justified based on analytical data this could result in a more efficient and less costly use of manpower resources. Speed cameras just like any technology can be used as an effective means to increase efficiency and lower costs which can allow for the reallocation of human and capital resources to more urgent uses. The problem comes in determining how that technology is to be used. After having discussed this issue with many others my own conclusion is that most people who object to speed cameras do so because of how they are used. Of course I think a significant number use that as their stated argument but really do not want speed cameras used because it increases the chances they will be caught breaking the law.
George Helm January 09, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Hold tight as the cameras will come. Since we had a surplus in the county last year we need to wait until that ends and they won't be able to deny the revenue going forward. I'm curious as to another sport complex being built across from HCC as it's pretty close to the Cedar Ln. facility. No money to widen Rt. 22 but another sport complex. I would like to be enlightened!
James P. Miller January 09, 2013 at 06:43 PM
The Speed Camera Law allows a speed camera to be places with in one half mile of a school. If you’re familiar with the locations of the schools in Havre de Grace you know that over ¾ of the city fits within those circles. Route 40 is in the school zone as is State Route 155. I was willing to compromise on the cameras and allow them on Lewis Lane near the Middle School and Juniata Street near the High school. Both of these schools are located in heavy pedestrian used sidewalks with unmanned crosswalks. State Route 155 doesn’t have any sidewalks or cross walks and most of the children are bused to the schools. State Route 155 becomes the County once you pass Maryland Avenue. 155 is a 7% grade and four lanes wide. The contractor wanted to set up a sight on the State Road so they could catch speeders. When I first started driving the speed limit on the road was 50mph. The State has reduced the speed on the hill because trucks could not make the 90 degree turn at the bottom. Google www.speedtrap.org and look up Maryland and look at the entries for Havre de Grace.
Ellen Eltgroth January 10, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Sean, this has nothing to do with the speed camera issue, but I'm having a problem with viewing this article. A window pops up and overlaps the article and I can only see a slliver of the first two paragraphs . It is some kind of ad for Motly Fool mentioning Bill Gates. These windows usually have an "x" to remove them, but this one doesn't. It happened yesterday, as well. Can you correct this? It is very irritating.
Bill Lawson January 10, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Robert, I must commend you on your extremely clear and expressive use of the English language. Well said!

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