Hamilton enforcing speed limit with mobile camera

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Speed cameras have been at the center of controversy in some areas around the Tri-State.

In Elmwood Place, those cameras have been ordered down by a judge.  In New Miami, some citizens have filed complaints against the village over their cameras.

However the speed camera set up in Hamilton looks and works a bit different. The cameras come attached to an unmarked, white SUV that's put in key areas around town. 

Officers in Hamilton will tell you, it's not about raising money for the department with this technology as it is about just getting you to slow down.

"Our speed program is a vehicle just basically set up like a police cruiser. It's got radars in it.  It's got a video system. It's controlled by our officers," said Sgt. Ed Buns, traffic supervisor at the Hamilton Police Department.

The SUV has a camera and computer system mounted inside and radar systems on top of it. The system has a set threshold to catch speeders moving at a certain speed over the posted speed limit.

Since January, more than 347,000 vehicles have been checked. Out of those, around 2,000 citations were handed out.

Each case is reviewed and some are dismissed by a company who provides the technology, as well as Sgt. Buns himself.

"It's not an hourly employee sitting at a computer screen going cite, cite, cite, cite. It's me looking at the videos," added Sgt. Buns.

Before the vehicle is ever put into service, a set of tests, including tuning forks to help calibrate the system, is done before the vehicle can start shooting any radar. A test must be passed from a computer system mounted inside the vehicle as well. The unit is checked once again when it's torn down, all by radar-certified officers. 

If any issue is found with the system during its deployment, no citations are issued.

"We've never had a failure because it's checked. It's maintained. But, say an anomaly would happen today, the officer would go back and delete every one of those citations," Sgt. Buns told FOX19.

However, that doesn't mean the program is still accepted by drivers in Hamilton.

"I thought it was a big sham. I think it's a scheme for the city of Hamilton to make money," says William Bost who has received a citation.

There is a battle over the legality of these cameras at the state level. On Tuesday, Sgt. Buns pointed out that their vehicle was deployed for about four hours and scanned over 4,000 cars in a school zone. Only one citation was issued out of those 4,000 cars.

Sgt. Buns says this is exactly what he wants to see, in that this vehicle is simply convincing people to slow down.

If you receive a citation, it will come in the mail.

The Hamilton Police Department publicizes where they'll deploy the mobile unit week to week.

To see where it'll be and to learn more about the program,  visit: http://www.hamilton-city.org/index.aspx?page=494

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