DES MOINES, Iowa -- After a little more than a year, the speed cameras on Interstate 235 have been turned back on. The cameras went live again Monday at 12:01 a.m.
The Des Moines Police Department says while the cameras were turned off and not issuing tickets, they were still collecting speed data. And in that year that they were off, there was a significant increase in speed violations.
While there was not enough data to reveal if the number of crashes increased in that area, police say that the cameras are a good deterrent to try to prevent crashes.
“All these cars moving down the roadway at 75 miles per hour and it’s just very graceful, everybody’s synchronized and going along. Yeah that’s all well and good until somebody makes a mistake and then it’s catastrophic,” Sgt. Paul Parizek from the Des Moines Police Department said.
Since the cameras were installed in 2011, they have been a subject of controversy. Many people like to call them a money grab as the city makes $12 million a year from the cameras. Police say the money goes to maximum federal grants to keep officers on the streets and in neighborhoods. They say an officer running 24-hour speed radar in that same spot would cost the city $560,000 per year.
“We’re not getting Christmas bonuses at the end of the year, we’re not putting a pool in the back parking lot,” St. Parizek said. “It frees up a lot of our valuable resources to put them where we need them, responding to calls for service, taking care of people issues in the moment and this will do it.”
There are four cameras, one in each lane of the interstate near 56th Street and Polk Boulevard. Anyone going 11-mph over the 60-mph speed limit will be issued a citation. The tickets range from $65 to $80 depending on the driver’s speed.