AZ County Pulls Speed Cameras as State Considers Ban

Photo radar has gone dark in Pinal County. The Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to terminate its contract with Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that operates the cameras.

The move also came at the recommendation of new Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

Pinal County's contract with Redflex wasn't set to expire until Feb. 20. Redflex' two mobile speed cameras have not been in operation on Pinal County roads since Babeu took office Jan. 1.

Babeu says putting more deputies on patrol offers the best way to improve public safety, instead of relying on cameras that "can't catch drunk drivers" or stop motorists involved in other illegal or dangerous activities.

Babeu estimated the number of citations issued annually by the Sheriff's Office would sharply increase as a result of having more deputies patrolling the streets.

Meanwhile, a bill to prohibit use of speed cameras on Arizona highways easily cleared its first legislative hurdle on Thursday.

A House committee voted 5-2 for the bill that now goes to the full House following what is usually a routine legal review. However, it's not clear when the full House will consider the measure because lawmakers are emphasizing work on the state's budget crisis.

Supporters of the Department of Public Safety's new program of deploying stationary and mobile cameras along state highways say they slow motorists down and improve highway safety.

Opponents say the program is fraught with problems and clearly aimed more at generating revenue for the state than increasing public safety.