Police Unveil Photo/Radar Van

The latest addition to speed enforcement in Colorado Springs is already at work. Police are parking a marked van equipped with radar and cameras to catch speeders.

One of the newest vehicles in the CSPD doesn't look like it would win many races.

"We have one van," said police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Noblitt Thursday.

Despite only having one camera and radar enhanced Toyota passenger van, police consider it an advantage. Instead of chasing speeders, the cameras on board catch license plate numbers and drivers' faces on camera.

When a series of flashes detonates from three lights on top of the vehicle a fine could follow days later in the mail.

"For all intents and purposes, it's a ticket," Noblitt said.

The penalty assessment notice will include a $40 fine for drivers going more than five over in most areas the van will be parked. The fine doubles for speeding in a school-zone. So far only warnings have been delivered.

"Me being a parent, it's something I think that's important for the safety of the kids, so I agree with it," said Dan Davidson, whose daughter goes to school at Stratton Elementary.

An officer will park the van, and stay with the vehicle near schools, parks and neighborhoods as well as construction sites where speed limits are reduced.

Supporters of the plan tell 11 News the additional enforcement adds a measure of peace of mind.

"I have a young child and would hate for someone to be speeding through the neighborhood and for her to get run over," said one Colorado Springs driver Thursday.

A few have come out against it on the KKTV 11 News Facebook page.

Marylinn wrote on Thursday: "Thanks Colorado Springs police department for spending my tax dollars on something that doesn't benefit me or anyone."

Timothy wrote: "Another fine example of "big brother" assuming we need monitoring at every possible point throughout our day."

"With this program, we recognize that it will help us do our jobs more efficiently," said Noblitt.

Operating the van will be the duty of two officers who can catch, in some cases, a line of speeders without having to put the van in drive. They may not follow those going too fast, but in two weeks, the fines will.

Noblitt said it costs $5,200 a month to operate the van. When the program goes into full swing police told 11 News the system will pay for itself.

As required by law, a sign indicating photo-radar is in use will be placed 300 - 500 feet ahead of where the van will be parked. Drivers, who get a penalty notice by mail, can pay it or contest it in court. When the system goes live on May 5, if the cameras catch a driver going between five or nine miles over the speed limit a one-time warning will be issued. The next time, it will be a fine.


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