Photo Enforcement P3: Research

So I got my picture taken, I waited to be served in person, and then I had a new court date of Dec. 30, 2010. Sigh… Let’s look into this situation a bit more. Star Valley. Anybody ever heard of Star Valley? I hadn’t heard of them before. The Town of Star Valley was incorporated on SR 260 in 2005, making it one of Arizona’s newest towns. The Town website prominently displays an image of their Photo Enforcement program on their homepage.  I found an article in the Payson Roundup from that stated the cameras became active in January 2008 and are now snapping an estimated 100 photos a day of drivers traveling 11MPH over the speed limit. The article also quoted mayor Bill Rappaport saying that, “…the “revenue-neutral” cameras are used stricly to improve safety, the additional money is “icing on the cake””. The town is budgeted to put $1.3 million into its general funds from the cameras. That’s some pretty nice icing. So, they’re going to be putting in some more cameras.

Mayor Bill Rappaport, that name looks familiar…. I checked my traffic violation and noticed that the complainant on the ticket was signed by Sharon Rappaport. Golly, how common is that name in Star Valley? After a little internet search, I found that Sharon B. Rappaport, age 62, is married to a William S. Rappaport, age 67. I’m getting the impression that the mayor is in bed with the court system. That just doesn’t feel right.

So further investigation of the Town website teaches that the Star Valley photo enforcement system is configured to an accuracy of +/- 1 MPH of the calibrated detection device reading. This calibration was done when the system was brought online on Jan. 31st 2008. The photos are taken at 11 mph or more over the posted speed limit. That mean’s that there is room for error that my photo may have been taken erroneously. The site also states, “Our primary focus is on intentional, aggressive and negligent drivers….We are trying to change the behavior of those persons who are most likely to cause crashes.” THAT’S NOT ME! I am NOT aggressive! (maybe I should lay off the ALL CAPS) I’m NOT negligent, I means C’MON! I was on my way to Boy Scout Leadership Training! At this point I decided to show up in court and plead my case. I don’t want to blindly contribute to the icing on their cake.

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