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10/17/2007
Louisiana: Residents Angered at Camera Vans Parked on Lawns
Speed camera vans parked on lawns without permission anger homeowners.

Camera van on the lawn
Residents continue to raise complaints about the propriety and legality of the photo enforcement program that Lafayette, Louisiana kicked off earlier this month. Last week, a resident raised the question of whether the private employees who operate speed camera vans are violating state law. This week, homeowners are complaining that ticketing vans are parking on their lawns without permission. Resident Sue Golden spoke with KVOL radio host Todd C. Elliott after a camera van left tire tracks and large brown spots on her front lawn. Golden was able to snap photos of the incident with her Treo cameraphone.

"I was just taking her picture so that... I would have proof she was in my yard," Golden told Elliott.

Golden initially had no objection to the use of photo enforcement in the neighborhood since she assumed the vans were operated by local police. Her complaint was simply the lack of courtesy displayed by the city.

"It just would have been nice if [the camera operator] had said I'll be parked in your yard all day today," Golden said. "My yard man had just finished cleaning that piece of grass."

Golden was surprised to learn that Redflex, an Australian company, owned the van. It is paid at least $25 for every citation it is able to issue.

"That makes it totally different," she said. "You just don't know what they're doing with the data."

After Eliott's piece aired, Lafayette Mayor Joey Durel called to apologize to Golden. The city still stands by the vans and claims it has the legal right to authorize private companies to drive over the front lawns. In response, KVOL radio set up a special website, SafeSpeedLafayette.com, that sends email or cell phone alert so that residents will know when a speed camera van is spotted in the area.

View video of the Todd C. Elliott interview with Sue Golden.




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