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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 15, 2014

6/24/2013 6:00:00 AM
Chief: PV to deploy officers on patrol when photo enforcement ends
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Police Department will put more officers on the streets after the town's contract for photo enforcement with Redflex Traffic Systems ends Oct. 3.

Interim Police Chief James Edelstein briefed the Town Council Thursday on the department's plans for cracking down on speeders and red-light runners when photo enforcement ends.

"It is difficult to predict what exactly is going to happen when photo enforcement goes away," Edelstein said. He said he will re-assign an officer to the traffic division and other officers to patrol once photo enforcement stops.

The Police Department currently assigns two officers to photo enforcement within the traffic division.

Three officers on patrol are certified to handle traffic, Edelstein said. The department has 64 sworn officers.

The goal is for officers to make at least one traffic stop a day, Edelstein said.

Edelstein spoke to the council a day after he announced that he reassigned Lt. Wayne Nelson, who was in charge of photo enforcement, to other duties and removed Sgt. Mark Postula from photo-enforcement duties within the traffic division as disciplinary measures.

He took those actions in response to an independent audit, released March 1, that determined police dismissed 22 violations that may have involved family members who drove officers' private vehicles. Postula reportedly admitted that he rejected seven speeding violations involving his wife over a four-year period.

The audit and a bribery scandal in Chicago involving Redflex led council members in March to revisit their support of photo enforcement. Council members at a March 21 meeting said they did not want to renew the contract with Redflex.

The revelations added fury to opposition of photo radar that has been around since its start in Prescott Valley. Critics have characterized it as Big Brother and believed they found it hard to challenge their accuser: a camera.

Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye expressed concerns Thursday about the absence of photo enforcement putting children more in danger on her street while acknowledging people "hated those (Redflex) vans."

Councilman Michael Whiting questioned Edelstein about the upcoming removal of red-light cameras near the entrance of Bradshaw Mountain High School at Glassford Hill Road and Long Look Drive.

Edelstein said two traffic division officers spend 90 percent of their time on motorcycles, adding three officers are certified for motorcycle duty.

Motorcycles are more effective in traffic enforcement, Edelstein said.

Edelstein said after his talk that he can report back to the council one year after photo enforcement goes away.

A sergeant on patrol when photo enforcement began in October 2006, Edelstein has taken the positions of his predecessors by claiming photo enforcement has led to fewer accidents by encouraging drivers to slow down.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: UPDATE PLEASE.

OK. So we know that Sgt. Postula and Lt. Nelson got put on probation. (Whatever that means for a Lt. and a Sgt.) They got pay reduced. What is going on with the two Iron Brotherhood members, Jason Kaufman and Ty Payne? It's been six months. Have they been dealt with? What's up? Is the town hoping to stay quiet and avoid the issue all together hoping that the citizens will forget about it? Also, where is the town at in the hiring process for the new police chief. It is understandable that the Town and Police Department would like to stay out of the news but the citizens of the community have a right to know what is happening.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: @Craig Arps

Craig, the problem with what you propose is when your "free people make their own choices" and those choices are to drive drunk, drive recklessly and disregard that laws that all others follow, innocent "free people" make the right choices end up dead or injured. They get no choice in that matter and more often than not, they end up bearing the consequences for those actions and those who chose to disregard the safety of all others bear very little responsibility. Your philosophy only works when each member of our society allows others to live freely and securely. Since that does not happen, the police become their only protector of their rights as free citizens.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: I DON'T GET IT

In this article is says that Lt. Nelson was reassigned. No longer associated with RedFlex. Why is Sgt. Postula still the supervisor over the traffic division? Isn't RedFlex a portion of the traffic division? I don't understand why Chief Edelstein would not want to start with a clean slate in the traffic division. Just sayin!

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Button Square Pants

The goal of each Officer to make at least one traffic stop per day is just fine by me, in fact, I think just one is probably not enough.

If I were a COP and I didn't get bothored by all of the family disturbances, drunkards and petty crap like that, I could easily park my car all over town where I know people speed constantly. I could make this town a TON of money doing nothing but traffic...

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: An old police adage

We have a saying in police work: I don't have a quota, I can write as many tickets as I want.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Big Rossie

Now we know the town let the photo radar cops off with a smack of the hand.

Photo radar will be gone soon and taking all of its corruption with it.

Now when will you tell us the rest of the iron brotherhood story. Most of us in town already have heard it but are waiting for our fearless leaders to tell us.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: 30 Yearr Resident

Dear Norman Bates....how many cities are in Yavapai County??? Most areas are towns...so when you mention city where are you talking about? Prescott? or Cottonwood? GET IT RIGHT!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: 30 Yearr Resident

Reed...give us all a break. You're always on the side of government...and no you'll have to be appointed because we won't vote you in.... give it up!!!!!

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: PVPD needs a new chief!!

This one opens his mouth and screws up. To those of you who insist on his integrity, the way he dealt with the two corrupt cops involved in the photo radar scandal should tell you all you need to know, He is clearly pandering to get support to become the Chief. Everyone knows these quotas are illegal, but he proudly announces them....

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

In the local vernacular James: Sucks being chief.

My thoughts are with you friend. On a more practical note, when observing your department doing traffic stop or control I notice many officers not paying good attention to flow around them. When possible reinforce those safety skills. Hey, sucks being chief. 8 - )

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: @ new goal needed

well said.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: To the misinformed Brain Surgeon

Quotas in law enforcement are illegal. Look it up.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Reed Winfrey

While no one will agree with all of what someone else does, myself included, Maybe the PVPD should be given a chance. I have known Chief Edelstein to be a man of integrity for many years. I don't see that change with his new position.

I think he meant the officers, would be making more citizen "contact" not writing more tickets. Many folks whined for radar to go away and used the reasoning that the cameras couldn't tell if someone was drunk, impaired,no license, and so on. Well, you folks are getting exactly what you ask for. The radar is going and officers are checking exactly what you demanded them to check. See, they did listen to you.

I support the PVPD in their efforts. I do however wonder something. If they do as you requested and pull you over and find an offense that warrants a citation,,, will that be their fault too??

Personal responsibility, the other National deficit.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: norman bates

Yes, there will be quotas.

Yes, the quotas will be way more than one per day. There might even be a dollar amount quota. As in, a red light ticket is worth more to the city than a turn signal bulb out.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: charles Kastner

I find the disposition the City of P.V. made re: the 2 corrupt police supervisors almost as disgusting as what these "officers" did.This is not "equal justice under the law".I would suggest if someone rec'd a P.V. photo cite during the time of this corruption, contact a lawyer to get at least your drivers lic.record expunged.of it, any increase in ins.cost's reimbersement by the City, and the cost of the ticket reimbursed by the City. The damage to Law Enforcement cannot be easily fixed. RETIRED L,E.OFFICER IN GOOD STANDING

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Sheepdog Trainer

I think what many of you are interpreting as a "quota" is actually a positive way for your officers to make more contacts with the public. It should not be seen as a quota. It is a goal- one on view contact a day does not always equal a ticket. IT may include several types of "on view" activity. Thank you for those that continue to put your life on the line. Stay Safe.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: I > U

There sure are a lot of amateur, wannabe police chiefs posting here. Thank god none of them have anything to do with running a police department (it sounds like most are doing a fairly lousy job of trying to run their own lives...)

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Shaking My Head

Does it matter whether or not speeding is captured by Photo or patrol when there are crooked cops that get a slap on the wrist. If it is so easy to dismiss the photo, it is just as easy to ignore the family speeders.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: New Goal Needed

Mr. Edelstein, I suggest that your officers need a more productive goal than "one traffic stop a day." For pete's sake, why not set a goal of increased patrolling of higher crime areas to deter crime? How about a goal of helping one person each day? Our officers don't need to LOOK for traffic offenders as they abound. Officers should LOOK for ways to help the people. Let's have our officers be a positive force in the community, rather than a punitive force. To protect and to SERVE.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

I stay as far away from PV as I can.Their crooked police are enough to keep me away plus the infamous photo radar debacle. Who knows what is next for them? Whatever it is sure to be not good.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: @ I wish I could avoid PV

You said, and I quote,

"Furthermore, the lack of synchronization with the stoplights on 69 makes for a very frustrating drive for someone who just wants to get through the place. Just yesterday I caught six red lights in a row."

Wow, really? That is synchronization at it's finest if you ask me. I drive from PV to Prescott for work every day, taking 69. I have no problem with the lights. If you catch one green light, then follow the speed limit you hit just about every light when it's green. If that isn't synchronization then I dont know what is.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: sick n tired

I've always had doubts that the cameras are an efficacious way to reduce accidents. If you aren't familiar with the locations of the equipment you may not be prepared for the car in front of you to suddenly decrease their speed by 20 mph as they approach a camera zone and then the sudden acceleration to resume their excessive speed upon passing out of the zone. How does that make it safer out there? But to the whiners who think the cameras are speed traps and merely a way to increase revenues I would suggest a way to get around this evil, revenue producing scheme......obey the law, drive safely and there's nothing to worry about. I am so weary of people expecting sympathy because the authorities make it so difficult to break the law, putting lives at risk....my life and yours.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ ATTENTION: HooterHoo: What's my comment have to do with police procedures? And I did my homework. The NYC police were caught in a sceme designed to give tickets to drivers by changing bus lanes when people got off a bridge. Not a proper police procedure. They paid dearly for that scam after a judge let 'em have it. This chief could probably do time for imposing "quotas" on his force.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Zeigh Owensby

The Prescott Valley Police Department just enforces the laws. Unfortunately, it is some of those laws that are inefficient, outdated, or worse, unsafe. Take a drive almost anywhere in the USA and you will find that the average speed of traffic is 5-10 MPH above the speed limit. That posted sign could read 200 MPH, but the average driver is still going to drive what they feel comfortable at for the most part. It is the separation of speed between vehicles that is the issue and not the speed limit itself. This has been scientifically recognized as a traffic engineering standard for over fifty years.

The Arizona Department of Transportation guidelines (Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 28-702) state that speed limits are to be set on the 85th percentile of drivers in any target area. However, the way that such averaging is done is not regulated, not to mention that local politicians are rarely opposed when setting speed limits artificially too low. In 2008 an independent test was done around the PV cameras on Highway 69, using a state of the art police issue speed measurement laser device directly linked to a computer for accuracy of recording. This was twice what is recommended by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, as many such tests are done with a radar gun and clipboard, inviting human error. It should come as no surprise to any of you that on this section of 55 MPH highway, the 85th percentile speed was 64 MPH. The only drop in speeds were immediately around the cameras, which cause conditions that are higher in accidents in itself. Unfortunately, five years later, that highway is still stamped with a speed limit that is 9 MPH lower that the recommended safe speed for free flowing traffic.

Roberts Road in PV can easily handle a 35-40 MPH speed limit in many places. There are many roads in bigger cities that have a 45 MPH speed limit that are more congested and offer less visibility than the 35 MPH section of Glassford Hills Road after the school. PV leaders initially wanted Highway 69 going through town to be reduced to a 35 MPH speed limit a few years ago, but thankfully the ADOT blocked it. The ADOT also recently increased the speed limit of Fain Road to what drivers have been traveling at for years.

So why the political struggle? Outdated thinking, emotions, and revenue. Traffic tickets put money in the pocket of the community leaders all the way to the insurance industry. Out of the $6,489,000 that was generated through RedFlex in 2011-2012, Prescott Valley got $1,027,734 and $5,461,266 left the community. That revenue will be gone in October 2013. PVPD will just be one of many remaining sources of revenue, whether you consider it just or unjust.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Craig Arps

There are some risks that we as a society must be willing to accept if we wish to live as free people. Our elected representatives and law enforcement must understand this and recognize that the safety of every individual at all times is primarily their own responsibility and that of their parents in the case of children. I commend the council for allowing this program to sunset, however grudgingly for some of them.
Photo radar may indeed make us safer, but then again so would locking us all away like they did to the Japanese-Americans in WW2. Unfortunately, the positive effects of liberty are often more subtle and less immediately felt then the negative effects of the tragedies and violations we seek to curb. We must have the maturity to realize that we benefit in the aggregate as a free people when we are allowed to make our own choices and bear our own responsibilities. It is only through hindsight and history that we understand that a loss of liberty by a steady chipping of good intentions is truly the most tragic thing that can happen to any people and has brought more destruction and death then has been prevented.
When we seek to balance the two we must see that public safety is only valid as a necessary but subordinate element of liberty. We the people should understand that we do not have government to keep us safe, but to keep us free.

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