More AZ photo enforcement politics

Much to the chagrin of the small group of individuals who run the Arizona legislature; it’s been discovered that ADOT (yes, the ARIZONA dept of trans) has routinely been allowing cities to install and use photo enforcement along state highways that run through their jurisdictions. ADOT appears to be following a common sense approach to allowing them: “ADOT has generally given cities and towns permission to install photo-enforcement cameras on state rights of way where the municipality takes the lead on enforcing traffic laws and responding to emergencies”. We can look forward to polictical pressure on ADOT to deny all requests.

In 2010, the (Arizona State) DPS (Dept of Public Safety — i.e. the state police) in what was presumably a politically-motivated decision by Brewer’s appointee, ended all use of cameras along state freeways.

We can look forward to this group of legislators, once again (click here for a roundup of last session’s half-dozen bills), spending an inordnate amount of legislative energy into preventing cities and towns from enforcing traffic laws. Their claim is they actually support enforcement; they just prefer it be done live and in person. This is, of course, disengenous — they know that the costs involved in putting additional sworn officers out on the street is horrendously high, and oh by the way, they (the legislature) don’t have any money to help do so.

What is the cost of providing an additional hour of patrol? Dunno. Maybe over $100/hour!? Sound high? Consider the average cost of a sworn personnel the city of Phoenix was some $126,000/year*, including benefits. Add to that the costs of equipment (and liability insurance, etc) plus supervisory (for every X patrol officers added you need another sergeant; for every Y sergeants added you need another lieutenant, etc); subtract out time not spent patrolling (vacation, squad meetings, sitting at court waiting to testify, etc).

* the figures come from City Councilman Sal Diccicio. He has often and loudly complained that the average city employee costs $100,000. He has never pointed out the disparity between the sworn and civilian workforce is so pronounced — around $85K vs. $126K for 2009-2010. His office, when asked, did provide the breakdowns. They didn’t break down police vs. fire (the two categories of sworn) but I assume they are comparable.

Sept 3, 2012 azcentral.comSome Arizona cities still snap speeders on state highways