Salisbury Teachers Question Speed Camera Accuracy - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Salisbury Teachers Question Speed Camera Accuracy

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SALISBURY, Md.- When one person complains about a ticket from a speed camera, you might chalk it up to just that; complaining. But when 17 teachers come forward -- teachers whose main priority is their kids' safety -- those complaints might grab your attention. They certainly grabbed ours. Now, the vendor and Wicomico County Sheriff's Office are defending the cameras' efficiency.

The teachers, from Salisbury Middle School, say they do not have an issue with the cameras, they just question their accuracy. Meantime, the camera vendor and the Sheriff's Office say they take complaints like these very seriously, and maintain the cameras are up to speed.

"It hit me at 39 miles per hour, right here," noted Jeremy Michalski, pointing to a ticket he received after a speed camera caught him just after pulling out of the school's parking lot onto Morris Street.

He doesn't see how that speed would even be possible.

"At 2:45, there's school dismissal, so there's parents lined up to pick up their kids, there's kids walking all over the street," he noted. "Every time I drive by that car, which we all know it's there, I look down at my speedometer and I'm going 22 miles per hour to 25."

And he is not alone.

"I got a ticket the beginning of last month," explained Michalski's coworker, Laura Becker. "It said I was going 40 miles per hour and I have a mom-mobile, and I just don't think it's possible for me to exit this parking lot and get up to that speed in that short amount of time."

According to Mario Hernandez, project manager for RedSpeed, the county's speed camera vendor, the state requires calibration by a third party vendor once a year, along with a daily system check of the camera and radar. Hernandez said his company, and the local agencies he works with, actually go above and beyond that mandate, but nothing is foolproof.

"We certainly set up the process in place," explained Captain Babe Wilson with the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office. "It's validated, it's verified, with the vendor as well as internally with a review system that we have in place."

"When we start to get complaints, the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office will contact us," noted Hernandez. "I will do some research into not only the logs and our maintenance and all of our calibration checks that we do periodically, and we determine whether or not there is a viable possibility that there may have been something wrong."

The Sheriff's Office told WBOC that after looking into complaints about the particular camera in question, no issues were found.

But these teachers aren't convinced.

"I definitely would not be putting kids in danger in front of this school," remarked Becker.

The Sheriff's Office notes that the cameras are doing their job. According to Captain Wilson, since their installation, traffic violations have gone down significantly around school zones. Wilson added that the majority of calls related to the speed cameras have to do with questions about payments, and not complaints.

If you happen to have a complaint, Wilson encourages you to contact the Sheriff's Office.

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