Red Light Cameras: How Will HPD Make Up The $10 Million Loss?

Possible new guildelines for HPD
Mayor Annise Parker has turned off the red light cameras, but she has also said that the move will cost the Houston Police Department $10 million a year.

In a time of tight budgets, with talk of furloughs and cutbacks, it's a tough hit to take. If only there was some way for HPD to make up the lost traffic-enforcement revenue.


From: Chief McClelland

Re: Lost revenue cc: Mayor Parker

Officers: As you may have read, our department faces the loss of $10 million or so in traffic-fine revenues.

There's no way we can take that hit. So I'm looking for ideas.

Please realize WE WILL NOT go the route of handing out more traffic tickets or increasing quotas. We couldn't increase quotas if we tried, because HPD has never, ever had any quotas on traffic tickets.

But it is true that we live in a different world these days, and that presents challenges. So while I eagerly await your ideas on how to increase traffic-fine revenue without simply handing out more tickets -- because that would mean a quota and like I said, HPD doesn't do quotas -- we will be taking the following philosophical steps in keeping our citizens safe.

1. Every intersection is now a hellspawn pit of untold danger No longer do we have cameras that can prove without a shadow of a doubt that someone was in the box one nanosecond after the light went from the .00005 seconds of yellow to full-stop red. As a result of losing these eyes in the sky, our citizens are at grave risk of certain death. Until drivers can get re-accustomed to the fact that there is no longer a benevolent protective eye-in-the-sky protecting them, we must use old-fashioned police work to enforce the red lights. We figure it might take eight, nine million or so in fines before the public has safely re-adjusted to pre-red light camera skill levels.

2. "Over" means over A sign saying 35 mph doesn't mean "Oh, feel free to spit in the face of Our Nation of Laws by barreling down the road at 36 mph." It's a slippery slope to lawlessness and anarchy.

3. The blinker: Your meal-ticket Everyone knows no Houston driver ever uses his or her blinker changing lanes on the highway. That sort of pussified "courtesy" may be considered nice in some other parts of the country, but here we know you are on your own. While we would normally never tamper with tradition, times -- as we've said -- our tough. You may find it difficult to keep a straight face while writing that "no turn signal" ticket, but just remember -- you've got mouths to feed. Oh, and it will cut down on highway accidents and we are in the business of safety and yadda yadda you know the drill.

4. Have you seen the new child-seat laws? Believe it or not, any child under 8 years old and 4-foot-9 has to be in a booster seat. No, it's true. You got a memo on this a while back. Sure, a first offense is just a $25 fine. But subsequent offenses can result in fines up to $250 each time. And the city can't get that sweet subsequent-offense cash until drivers start getting those first offenses. We're just saying. We're not saying, we're just saying. Something to keep in mind.

5. Remember, you can't park more than 10 inches from the curb Or 11 inches, or 18 inches, or whatever the hell it is. No one actually knows since no one gets a ticket unless their car is poking four feet out into traffic, but we've got people researching the ordinances right now. And remember, when we start "vigorously enforcing" the too-far-from-the-curb laws, it will be an educational campaign. A very lucrative educational campaign.

That's it. And remember, be safe out there. And don't forget to take your ticket books.

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