6/29/2006Texas: Police Refuse Car Burglary Calls without Red Light Cameras
Arlington, Texas police offer deal: give us red light cameras and we will respond to vehicle burglary calls.
Since 2003, police in Arlington, Texas have declared themselves too busy to answer calls from residents pleading for help in automobile burglary cases. Now, the North Texas city's Police Chief Theron Bowman is offering a deal -- give us red light cameras and we will take your call.
"Chief Bowman recognizes that there's a chance we could use some of the proceeds from the revenue brought in by the cameras to benefit the public by adding officers," Arlington Police Lieutenant Blake Miller told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Bowman is looking to the cameras to generate $3.8 million in annual revenue to add to the existing $66 million police budget. Nearly a half-dozen cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have rushed to install the devices after a state legislator slipped a sentence into an appropriations bill allowing civil fines for traffic infractions. The cities working on cameras include Denton, Frisco, Garland, Plano and Richardson.
The busy department has had time to issue 8600 parking tickets and 160,000 traffic tickets in Arlington last year. In February, for example, Arlington police used a Texas Department of Transportation grant to set up a "Buckle Up Texas" program to pay officers solely to issue seat-belt citations to motorists.