Backlash from community

Although both programs have experienced success, it hasn't come without some backlash from community members.

Rakowski said the SHA has reported incidents of vans being vandalized and received some letters of complaint expressing discontent.

"I've seen public response come in both ways," Rakowski said. "But I'm not sure if anyone can argue about lives being saved, and that's what this program is about."


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Hamilton said the Brekford Corp. handles complaints for the city of Laurel and that most of the complaints are regarding late payment fees.

Laurel resident Ivin Lee said he doesn't necessarily mind the speed cameras, but is more upset about what he perceives to be a lack of warning when you enter a school zone.

"If you want to save the kids and stop speeding, put up a blinking light to let people know that a camera is up ahead," Lee said. "If it's about the kids, then put a sign up to let people know, so they will slow down. It's just annoying more than anything."

McLaughlin said the city is exploring placing electronic signs in the school zones that display to drivers their current speed before they pass through the speed camera zone. McLaughlin added that, if they were to be implemented, the city has the option of placing additional cameras on these signs.

Lee, who said he's been caught by different speed cameras a few times, added that he believes it's less about the kids and more about the revenue.

"In this economy, the people who can least afford to get the tickets are getting them. Who can afford to throw money away?" Lee said. "Nobody is against the safety for the kids; I just don't think it is about that. I think it is all about the money."

According to Hamilton, the revenue collected from the speed cameras, which is a flat $40 per citation, is used toward public safety initiatives, as mandated by state law.

McLaughlin said Laurel's speed camera revenue has been used to repair sidewalks, repave roads and install or replace electronic crossing signals at city crosswalks.

McLaughlin emphasized that the program is not about revenue and all about pedestrian safety.

"I don't want the perception that it's all about the money," McLaughlin said. "This is not money-driven; it's all about the safety of traffic and pedestrians in school zones."