Letters to the Editor

Is photo enforcement about safety or revenue? | Letters

I have been trying since 2010 to make the city aware of the flaws in the traffic control and photo enforcement system.

I have been ticketed in two separate Federal Way school zones in the past few years. In both cases, I took my case to court. And in both cases, I prevailed.

During my own fact finding, I relied on the Federal Way traffic engineers like Rick Perez. He told me years ago about the problems with the 21st Avenue SW flashers and signage. But the bottom line seemed to be: talk to the city council. Later, it was another location with similar issues. But again, the judge (after dismissing the case against me) basically said “Don’t tell me — tell the city.”

I’ll digress here, as I later became a victim of the West Valley Highway speed trap (bottom of Peasley Canyon Road, going north), where the city decided to reduce the speed limit on a major thoroughfare to 30 mph. My research took me to the stated fact that Auburn wanted to raise city revenues by this action.

Back now to Federal Way. Is it about safety or revenue? I have put two kids through the Federal Way school system. I understand the need for safety in school zones. But the photo enforcement program goes beyond that. It removes the human element.

The city contracts this photo enforcement to a company in Arizona. So, some of the money goes out of state. Hmm. Note that the Arizona company lost one of my responses and request for a court date. Had it not been for an understanding Federal Way police officer, who helped me straighten this out, who knows what situation I would have been facing?

I think we all agree that this program either needs to go or needs to be fixed. Who in the city will come out and say precisely that?

And one more thing. While awaiting my turn to present my case (which they didn’t want to hear anyway), I watched as even clearly guilty parties were having their cases dismissed. We all watched as a car was shown violating traffic laws. The owner said, “Your honor, I don’t remember driving my car at this time.” The judge promptly dismissed the case. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.

Does this have any bearing on photo enforcement? Maybe not. Or maybe law enforcement around here has become a joke. And at the bottom of this joke lies the fact that we’re relying on photographic evidence — when we need cops.

Dave McKenzie, Federal Way


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