Girard council considers implementing manned radar speed cameras


City council is reviewing legislation that would authorize the police department to enforce speeding via radar camera.

Council gave the ordinance its second reading Monday night. It is set to come up for final passage next month.

Citations issued because of the camera will be civil rather than criminal which means they will carry a fine, but will not count against the speeder’s driving record. Drivers will have the option to contest the civil citation at an administrative hearing and could eventually take the appeal to Girard Municipal Court.

Girard’s proposed fee schedule is $150 for speeding in a marked construction zone and $100 for speeding under normal circumstances. There are also late fees of $25 or $50. Under Ohio law, the civil fee from the camera cannot be more than what the court fee would have been.

The Ohio legislature passed Senate Bill 342 in 2014 which effectively banned the use of unmanned traffic cameras. Therefore, Girard’s cameras will need to be operated by a uniformed police officer. Under Ohio law, the minimum threshold for issuing a ticket is 10 miles per hour over the speed limit or six miles per hour over the limit in a school zone.

Additionally, both SB 342 and Girard’s proposed legislation mandate that the city post signs informing motorists of the camera use.

Girard Police Chief Jeffrey Palmer said he believed the cameras would increase police efficiency, noting that the department employs 16 officers, though a city ordinance technically mandates 21 officers.

Councilman Stephen Brooks said the primary goal is to reduce accidents — especially fatal ones. Brooks denied that the program is intended as a money grab and said he’s heard complaints from residents about speeding, especially on U.S. Route 422.

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