LETTER: Cameras can’t compete with police resources

Police feet on the Malahat Highway and in municipalities where they live will prevent far more deaths than cheapskate approaches like long-interval speed measuring systems that may not be able to identify the aggressive driver weaving in and out of traffic, nor other offenders.

Police eyes and minds can detect excessive speed for conditions (which may be well below the speed limit with the fog and ice common there – a frequent cause of accidents). They can detect some drunks from behaviour, drivers with medical problems (young and old, due erratic driving), illegal equipment (such as tinted front side windows and exhausts exceeding noise limits), distracted driving, throwing cigarettes out the window to start fires, and drivers with open arrest warrants. (Especially with automatic plate identification systems.)

Hidden cameras are not proper – this society was founded on protection of individuals against snooping, receiving a ticket in the mail weeks later works against disputing it (police and cameras systems do make mistakes including time being in error). But police can sit quietly in the shade or against a building and use their eyes and brain, plus speed radar and other direct measuring devices. Then colleagues can apprehend the offending drivers for immediate impact on their thinking.

I don’t see how elapsed interval measuring devices with cameras can identify the offending vehicle when more than a couple are on the road, nor when speed varies which is the time of greatest risk. If “photo radar” vans did contain a police officer, as some claim, what the system lacked was immediate apprehending of the offender by other officers down the road.

Those things are known and have been discussed for years. But politicians are too cheap to get police on the street more often to re-educate bad drivers, both on the Malahat and where most drivers live – in places like Saanich which spent money on junk at the Craigflower bridge instead of on more police to catch the many drivers who violate red lights and stop signs. (With a side benefit of being closer to the point of need for attending accident scenes, helping with fire scenes, and getting to reports of assault and robbery more quickly.)

The CRD fails to learn from history. I urge voters to develop and help elect candidates who will perform the government’s duty of protecting innocent people.

Keith Sketchily

Saanich