Motorists speeding through Des Moines may be caught on camera in the coming months. Des Moines police Sergeant Lori Lavorato says they’re considering the installation of four to five traffic cameras to catch speeders, red-light runners and other unsafe drivers. One of those cameras could be located on a busy freeway.
"We are possibly thinking about putting one on Interstate 235 in a spot where it’s very dangerous for officers to do traffic stops," Lavorato said. The camera proposal will be presented to the Des Moines City Council today. The police department’s still investigating possible vendors, but most traffic camera systems snap photos of lawbreakers, allowing officers to send the owners of the vehicles tickets in the mail. But, Lavorato insists that’s not the number one purpose.
"The goal of this is to change people’s behaviors," Lavorato said. Officials in other cities that have traffic cameras in place says they’re experiencing fewer traffic accidents. Lavorato says the cameras would be clearly marked in Des Moines. "With those cameras, we would like to put up signs saying what that camera is and what it’s for," Lavorato said. "We want to make people aware that they’re out there, it’s nothing secretive." If approved, the cameras would likely be installed sometime next year.
"There’s no rush on this, but it if were to go forward, maybe six months to a year," Lavorato said. The Iowa Supreme Court last year rejected arguments in a Davenport case that the cameras violate state law. In addition to Davenport, traffic cameras are being used in Sioux City, Council Bluffs and Clive.