7/23/2009Louisiana: Speed Camera Company Runs Litter Camera Program
Speed camera maker sets up program allowing Baton Rouge, Louisiana to issue $167 automated litter tickets.
Speed camera vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) next month will use its automated ticketing expertise to run a litter camera program for Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Under first-of-its-kind initiative, city workers will drive around photographing neighborhoods with special cameras hooked into a Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite tracking device. The workers will be looking to capture homes that might have litter, weeds or trash on their lawn so that a hefty fine can be imposed.
"The mayor's office has put together a new enforcement program with a tough new ordinance and the high-tech services of American Traffic Solutions, the company under contract to operate the city-parish's red-light monitoring system," the mayor's office said in a statement. "ATS already uses video from cameras posted at key intersections to generate violation notices for the owners of vehicles that illegally run red lights."
Fifteen "code enforcement specialists" this week began training on the program in which they will drive around looking to issue tickets to homeowners. The code specialists are paid at least $12.49 an hour and must have a valid driver's license, a GED and some experience working in construction to be hired. ATS will download the images that these specialists generate and then use an automated computer system to generate warning letters, tickets and hearing notices similar to those used in the traffic camera program.
When "construction materials, litter, refuse, rubbish, appliances, junk vehicles, limbs, trees or other discarded materials or debris" are photographed at a home, a letter will be sent to the last address of record for the property owner. The situation must be remedied within fifteen days to escape the ticket. The penalty imposed by the program is the same as a red light camera citation -- $117 plus "court costs" of $50. If the owner is on vacation or the address on file is incorrect, Baton Rouge will hold a "litter court" administrative hearing where a municipal employee will find that it is "more probable than not" that the missing property owner is guilty. Residents will also be ticketed for putting out garbage cans before 4pm or failing to retrieve them before 6am.
The ticket vans start rolling on August 1 and the litter court hearings open September 17.