Agreements are already in place to implement traffic cameras in public school zones located within Milledgeville city limits. Now plans are moving forward to add Midway Hills Academy, which is outside the city, into the mix. For that to happen, several different parties must approve, but dominoes have already begun to fall.
“The sheriff’s department has agreed to implement these traffic enforcement safety devices for Midway Hills Academy,” Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Noris Price told school board members last week. “They are waiting for the agreement to be finalized. It would then go to our attorney, then back to you, for approval and then it would go to the county commissioners.”
District 4 board member John Jackson asked where the devices will be placed in relation to Midway Hills Academy, and Price replied that they would be along Highway 441.
Maj. Scott Deason, head of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) road patrol division, is heading up the effort from the law enforcement side. A memorandum of understanding is being drawn up between the sheriff’s office and the board of education, and Deason says he hopes to have the cameras at Midway Hills Academy in place by the start of the 2020-21 school year. Revenue generated from the tickets will be split with 65 percent going to the local sheriff’s office and the remaining 35 percent going to RedSpeed, the Florida-based company that sells the traffic camera system. Deason told The Union-Recorder that the sheriff’s office can only use those funds for things like law enforcement equipment and training.
Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord initially presented the plan to implement traffic cameras equipped with speed detection technology to the Baldwin County Board of Education last July. Since his jurisdiction ends at the city limits, his presentation applied only to those schools located within.
According to information presented, those caught speeding 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit in school zones by the RedSpeed cameras will be subject to a $75 fine on a first offense. If a second offense is committed in one year, the fine is $125. Swicord stressed that such fines would strictly be “civil penalties” and would not go against the vehicle owner’s insurance or driving record, similar to a parking ticket. Figures given at the summer meeting say that 65 percent of the money paid by ticketed offenders goes to MPD while RedSpeed gets the remaining 35 percent.
“Do I think it will be effective? I certainly do,” Swicord said when presenting to the school board last summer.
Milledgeville City Council adopted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in January to implement the technology in the public schools within city limits, which was approved by the BOE the next month. The cameras will be placed in the school zones at Midway Hills Primary, Lakeview Primary and Oak Hill Middle School along Blandy Road as well as Baldwin High School on Highway 49. They have not been installed as of yet.
While the Baldwin County School District will not see any of the revenue generated, the MOU states that, “annual reports will be made on or before June 30 of each year to the school district detailing funds utilized on public safety activities and initiatives that impact individual schools within the incorporated area of the city and the school district. The school district will serve as the applicant through the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), but will not be responsible for installation or maintenance of the equipment.”