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