City of Kent breaks $5 million mark in school traffic camera revenue

Program began five years ago to slow drivers

The city of Kent broke the $5 million mark for revenue collected since it first installed cameras to catch drivers speeding through school traffic zones five years ago.

A total of 9,113 citations in 2018 resulted in revenue of $1.1 million, said Barbara Lopez, interim city finance director, in an email to the Kent Reporter.

The city paid Arizona-based American Traffic Solutions (ATS) $367,333 last year to provide the camera services that include the equipment as well as mailing out tickets to owners of vehicles caught speeding at four elementary schools.

The school traffic camera fund had a balance of about $691,000 through May 31, Lopez said. Once the costs are paid to ATS, the rest of the funds can be used for enforcement and processing of traffic and criminal laws, according to city ordinance.

The 2019 and 2020 budgets from the fund include $868,000 each year to purchase vehicles in support of the car per officer program that Kent Police started last year that allows officers to take the vehicles home. A total of 29 vehicles will be purchased at a cost of about $62,000 per vehicle.

Police issue a $136 fine for a vehicle exceeding the 20 mph school speed limit by 1 to 9 mph and issue a $248 fine for speeds of 10 mph or faster above the speed limit. The cameras operate for 30 minutes in the morning before school and 30 minutes in the afternoon after school.

Kent began the program with cameras in 2014 at Sunrise and Neely-O’Brien elementary schools at the request of the Kent School District in an effort to slow drivers at schools with the most violations during traffic studies. The city added cameras in September 2015 at Meridian and Millennium grade schools. The city added cameras in March at Springbrook and Meadow Ridge grade schools (those stats are not part of this report).

Citations were down in 2018 compared to 2017 at two schools and up at the other two schools.

Sunrise had 2,353 citations in 2018 and 2,798 in 2017; Meridian had 1,627 in 2018 and 1,686 in 2017; Millennium had 1,452 in 2018 and 1,436 in 2017; and Neely-O’Brien had 3,686 citations in 2018, and 3,401 in 2017.

The totals were 9,118 citations in 2018 and 9,342 in 2017, a drop of 224. The city collected $1.2 million in 2017.

The city issued 9,101 tickets in 2016; 8,122 in 2015 and 8,366 in 2014. Revenue has been around $1 million each year.

Violation rejections

Each year hundreds of drivers caught by cameras do not end up getting tickets issued to them for a variety of reasons.

The 2018 report from ATS showed a total of 13,228 violation events, but 4,110 were rejected. A total of 3,474 were considered non-controllable violations, such as no license plate on vehicle, violation not processed within the statutory time frame, no state Department of Licensing information and other reasons, according to ATS.

Another 622 were considered non-violations such as emergency vehicles in the zone and drivers caught on school snow days or holidays when no children were in school.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

South King County area police respond to Seattle protests

The responding officers are members of the multi-agency Valley Civil Disturbance Unit, officials say.

Kabal Gill, owner of East India Grill in Federal Way, wears gloves to hand over take-out orders at his restaurant on March 23. File photo
New guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings in King County

All workers will need to wear masks as restaurants, retail shops and other businesses reopen.

This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. Courtesy photo
Inslee wants nursing home residents and staff tested by June 12

Governor says state will pay for test kits and personal protective equipment.

Kent man injured in high-speed crash

Single-car wreck along South 212th Street

Missing Kent man allegedly killed by fugitive in Central Washington

Detectives obtain arrest warrant for Jorge Alcantara-Gonzalez in death of Ian Eckles

Stock image
Campgrounds to reopen in 22 Washington counties

Campgrounds in counties actively in Phase 2 of the reopening plan will begin to welcome visitors June 1, state says.

King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. FILE PHOTO
King County sheriff releases message about Minneapolis Police officer

Mitzi Johanknecht calls video of officer kneeling on neck of George Floyd ‘heartbreaking and disturbing’

City of Kent cancels all Parks Department summer events, programs

Youth sports, summer concerts among cancellations

ICE joins manhunt for suspect wanted in connection with missing Kent man

Alcantara-Gonzalez reportedly a Mexican citizen in the U.S. illegally; Eckles missing near Cle Elum

Most Read