WICHITA — Drivers that were issued tickets during a now-suspended Wichita Police camera-based traffic enforcement pilot program, must pay their fines.

Wichita Police announced it ended the pilot program early, leaving some asking if the program is legal and if they have to pay their citations.

Timothy Wier was hit with a $110 fine after he was caught making a left turn into the outside lane at 2nd and Washington in Old Town. To his surprise, it wasn’t a Wichita police officer on patrol that spotted his traffic infraction. It was someone sitting in an office, blocks away, looking for bad drivers on the Old Town security camera system.

Wier was one of more than 100 people caught on camera breaking traffic laws over the last few week as part of the camera-based traffic enforcement pilot program, a program that the city announced it’s put an early stop to.

Police announced it’d been using the 70-camera system to write traffic citations. Someone monitoring the cameras would call down to an officer. Then, an officer would pull over the driver in question and possibly issue a ticket.

“For $750,000, I think that they could use them a little bit better than trying to catch people turning left,” Wier said.

“I think it needs to be a one-on-one with a police officer saying, “I caught you speeding’ and ‘I caught you doing an illegal u-turn. I’m going to give you a ticket,'” Wichita resident, Mark Rider said.

Some people are wondering if the system is legal, so we asked attorney Dan Monnat to weigh in.

“Now, we may not like living in a high-tech world of “big brother-like” recordation of our every public action, but that doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional,” Monnat said.

Monnat says we have no reasonable expectation of privacy while driving in public.

“Just because something is constitutional doesn’t mean public officials have to encourage or foster it,” Monnat said.

Wichita police tell KAKE News even though the pilot program is suspended, the drivers that received tickets still have to pay up.

Police and the city manager say they will meet to discuss the results of the program and decide if it’ll be used to write traffic tickets anymore. The cameras are still being used for safety purposes.

See full story at KAKE.com

Wichita police are using 97 cameras to monitor the Old Town area for safety. Now, some of those cameras are being used for traffic enforcement.

The intersections police are monitoring include 1st and Washington, 2nd and Washington, and 3rd and Mead.

“The idea is to improve traffic safety downtown, to enhance enforcement efforts and raise public awareness,” said Sgt. Kelly O’Brien, Wichita Police Department.

Police said they are working the traffic enforcement with the video two hours at a time. In the last two-hour block of time, officers wrote 52 tickets based on 55 violations.

“It has made a difference in the traffic flow, the amount of violations have decreased as a general observation this morning,” said O’Brien.

And, while officers maintain it’s for safety, some who got a ticket with the video enforcement said they were not expecting to be caught on video.

“Two weeks ago, on my way to work I was turning left on Washington, and I got a ticket for not turning into the nearest lane,” said Madison Bauer, who works in Old Town. “They said they saw it on the camera..”

Madison said her ticket will cost her $105, and she wonders if it’s legal.

Officers running the enforcement said they have run it all through the city legal department.

“It’s not our goal to be big brother watching everyone,” said Sgt. O’Brien. “We want to make Old Town safe. We’ve had an increase in accidents at some of the intersections where we now have cameras.”

Sgt. O’Brien said they have commissioned officers watching the cameras. And, when they see a violation they radio an officer to pull the driver over.

The video is kept in the system for 400 days.

Sgt. O’Brian said they will not go back through old video to look for violations when the camera system is not being staffed. It’s not a 24/7 proposition.

“We’re just trying to do an enforcement to keep the streets safe,” said O’Brien.

See the full video at KSN.com

(WICHITA, Kan.) – Best Law Firms 2018 has awarded Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, three Tier 1 Rankings in the areas of General Practice Criminal Defense, White-Collar Criminal Defense, and Appellate Practice. The Best Law Firms rankings are based on a national assessment of law firms produced jointly by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

Complete rankings are online at www.usnews.com/bestlawfirms.

Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes client evaluations, peer review by leading attorneys in their practice areas, and Best Lawyers’ independent analysis of the firms. Clients were asked to address areas such as expertise, responsiveness, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to the firm.

Defense attorney Dan Monnat and legal scholar Stan Spurrier founded Monnat & Spurrier in 1985. The firm has gained an international reputation for its defense of such high-profile clients as late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller; the unfortunate innocent person whose home was mistakenly raided by police as being that of serial killer BTK; and most recently, the Western Kansas man wrongly accused of murdering a four-year-old child by cruelly beating or shaking her.

In addition to Monnat and Spurrier, the firm includes shareholders Trevor Riddle and Sal Intagliata, and associates Kathryn Stevenson and Matt Gorney.