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Board approves speed cameras near schools

Prince Frederick, MD - In an effort to reduce the number of speeding incidents near schools, Calvert County officials have approved a program called Safety for Students.

During their Tuesday, July 28 meeting, the Calvert County Commissioners conducted a public hearing on the proposal that will result in the installation of speed cameras at public schools located on county roads.

Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans [R] (pictured) announced the primary locations for the cameras would be in front of Huntingtown and Mount Harmony elementary schools, Mill Creek Middle School, Patuxent High School, the campus of Northern High and Northern Middle schools; and the campus of Windy Hill Middle and Elementary schools. 

“The proposed program is intended to provide law enforcement additional support to its traditional speed enforcement efforts,” County Attorney John Norris stated in a memo to the commissioners. “Of paramount importance are those systems that can be used to keep pedestrians safe and traffic calm, and address speeding in school zone roadways.”

Norris noted that revenue received by the county from the Safety for Students Program “shall first be used to recover the cost of implementing and administering the program. Any remaining balance is proposed to be used for public safety purposes as set forth in the annual budget adopted by the county commissioners.”

While no member of the public offered comment during the hearing, Commissioner Pat Nutter [R - District 2] noted that a letter from a citizen suggested an alternative to speed cameras would be “an officer at every school.”

“Too many people are driving too fast,” Commissioner Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R - District 3] stated. “If people are going to choose to be dangerous it’s going to cost them.”

Commissioner Tom Hejl [R - At Large] dismissed the notion that the speed cameras were “a simple, money-making operation.” He pointed out the cameras would only be positioned on county roads. Hejl indicated that while the speed camera installations were a good start to improving safety for Calvert’s school system, a goal of assigning a law enforcement officer for every school seems like a good long-range goal.

Evans noted that the Town of Chesapeake Beach has had a speed camera in use on Route 261 in front of Beach Elementary School since 2012 and the number of citations continues to decline. “It’s worked well in the Beach,” Evans declared.

Norris stated the new ordinance implementing the Safety for Students Program complies with state transportation law. With the program now approved, county officials will be required to provide reasonable notice of speed monitoring systems prior to activating them in a school zone.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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