By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Feb. 16, 2023) Speed cameras could be on their way to the Town of Berlin following a presentation that officials from camera company RedSpeed USA gave to the mayor and Town Council.
The next step, Mayor Zack Tyndall said, will be for RedSpeed and Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing to survey potential spots around town to place the cameras.
The decision to proceed with surveying sites comes four months the mayor and council broached the subject with Downing.
During that meeting, Downing had said that Seahawk Road and Flower Street were two possible areas the town could install speed cameras.
On Monday, Downing and Kurt Zanelotti, who described himself as the principal investor in RedSpeed, spoke to the town officials about the cameras and how a potential business relationship could look.
The cameras must be installed within a half-mile of a school zone, per Maryland law. It’s possible that they can be used in front of other childcare centers, but that call ultimately lies with the State Highway Administration on a case-by-case basis, Zanelotti said.
For implementing the cameras, he said that typically the cameras are eased into operation.
“You’ve got a political thing in a small town,” Zanelotti said. “We (typically plan it as) you have … a two-week period (where we only issue offenders a warning … You advertise it saying when the cameras are coming in and there will be warnings for two weeks, this is where they are. There are signs up in front of them that say, ‘Speed camera school zone ahead.’ It’s like everything you can possibly do is done and we do it.”
Signs and newspaper advertisements would be expected, too, he said.
“Once the people are there, they stop speeding (for the most part),” Zanelotti said.
RedSpeed’s data suggests that for the first week, roughly 50 to 60 percent of offenders live near the camera of which they ran afoul. But quickly, that percentage flips and out-of-town offenders ultimately comprise 80 percent of the split.
And while other speed camera companies might give municipalities a flat monthly fee, Zanelotti said that RedSpeed would fund the cameras and take a percentage of the monthly earnings.
“The process is you can do a (request for proposal), a direct placement and say ‘all right we’re just picking you guys’ or you can do a piggyback … and go through the whole bidding process and piggyback right off (an existing) contract,” Zanelotti said. “Once you do that, once you pick the method … you promulgate the ordinance and then we get SHA (but) we can do the study without SHA.”
The cameras RedSpeed uses typically give tickets to motorists traveling 12 miles per hour and higher over the posted speed limit. Usual hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, excepting some holidays, depending on the jurisdiction. They are, however, on 24/7 for law enforcement observation.
Fines are typically around $40.