5/1/2007North Carolina: Traffic Camera Profit Buys Surveillance Cameras
Fayetteville, North Carolina defies state Appeals Court ruling and uses some of red light camera profit to buy school surveillance cameras.
A North Carolina city intends to use profits from its red light camera program to buy surveillance cameras instead of books for school children, in defiance of a state Appeals Court ruling. The city of Fayetteville decided earlier this year to direct a small portion of the $580,000 in profit from its red light camera ticketing system into buying surveillance cameras to monitor children at school. The move was made as part of a deal with Cumberland County schools.
According to the North Carolina's constitution, the proceeds from all criminal fines must be "used exclusively for maintaining free public schools." The provision was intended to diminish the tendency of localities from using law enforcement to generate revenue while giving a boost to the state's public education system.
Last May, the state Court of Appeals ruled that the provision applied to income from city red light camera programs and meant that all but 10 percent of gross ticket revenue must be sent to the schools (read opinion). Fayetteville decided to defy the directive handed down by the state's second-highest court to the city of High Point and give as much as 60 percent of the proceeds to Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), the private vendor that operates the program. Fayetteville hopes that the state Supreme Court will overturn the decision. ACS is currently on trial in Edmonton, Canada for bribing police officers in return for a lucrative photo enforcement contract.