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Police Commissioner O'Neill Calls On Albany To Allow More Speed Cameras In NYC

June 18, 2018 - 6:08 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill is calling on Albany to make the city's streets safer with more speed cameras.

Principals and politicians are also hoping Albany does not end its session Wednesday without passing speed camera legislation.

As WCBS 880 reporter Steve Burns reported, they want the current program renewed which is 140 speed cameras around school zones all around the city. But O'Neill wants another bill to go through that would double the number of school zones that would be eligible for this program and increase the number of speed cameras through that over the next three years.

"I can tell you that speed cameras certainly do help save lives" O'Neill said.

Since most of the statistics for having speed camera positive, why wouldn't Albany do this? There is one pending bill from Brooklyn Democrat Sen. Simcha Felder who said he would be fine reauthorizing the current program but only if an armed police officer is posted outside of every school.

O'Neill said that is an entirely separate issue and has nothig to do with speed cameras.

PBA Spokesman Patrick Lynch said red light and speed cameras cannot do the job of a live, professionally trained police officer -- they can't take a drunk, unlicensed or uninsured driver off the road, Burns reported.

“New York City police officers want to make our streets safe for everybody who uses them, but automated traffic enforcement cameras are not the solution," Lynch said in a statement. "Red light and speed cameras cannot do the job of a live, professionally trained police officer — they can't take a drunk, unlicensed or uninsured driver off the road, and they won't catch evidence of other crimes that might be apparent to a police officer conducting a traffic stop. But they are very good at one thing: stuffing the City's coffers with additional revenue from fines. If the politicians promoting this money-grab were truly interested in street safety, they would put the proper resources behind the NYPD's traffic enforcement efforts, including reversing the 5,000-plus reduction in the NYPD's uniformed headcount since the early 2000s.”

The deadline for the bill is Wednesday - when the session in Albany ends. If there is no action taken by Wednesday, not only would there be no new speed cameras, the city's 140 speed cameras would be turned off, Burns reported. 

That is unacceptable to many, Burns reported.

One of the reasons the bill has been held up is over privacy concerns. Some constituents have concerns over being watched by these cameras, but O'Neill said there are security cmeras all around the city and that's not an issue. 

If you don't want to be on camera, stay under the speed limit, Burns reported.