Brookhaven will deploy automated cameras to catch and ticket speeders in school zones.

The City Council on Feb. 11 approved a contract with RedSpeed, an Illinois-based provider of enforcement technology. Automated speed-detection cameras, software and signage will be installed by the company, along with a website for control of citations and mailing procedures. The no-cost agreement allows RedSpeed to keep 35% of all fines, while Brookhaven’s 911 Fund receives the remainder.

The system will set a threshold of 11 mph over the speed limit, at which point police will review each citation before mailing a ticket to the registered owner. The fine will be $75 for a first citation and $125 for further citations in the same year.

Warnings will be issued to speeding drivers during the first 30 days of the program, for which no start date has yet been established. Warning signs will be placed on both ends of every school zone.

“The idea is to get drivers to slow down, not collect fines,” said city spokesperson Burke Brennan.

Additionally, “real-time alerts will be integrated into Brookhaven’s existing License Plate Reader … [camera] platform to identify sex offenders, protective orders and wanted persons for increased safety in school zones,” according to a city press release.

In a post-meeting interview, Deputy Police Chief Brandon Gurley said the move “comes on the heels of multiple citizens complaining about speed infractions and other traffic violations during school days. We sent officers out to those areas in response to complaints and they were busy stopping one car after another.”

A study conducted in three Brookhaven school zones on Aug. 27 last year found more than 3,000 vehicles speeding at least 10 mph over the limit. Cross Keys High School on North Druid Hills Road had by far the highest number of speeders, with 2,230 passing by that day. There were 467 violators recorded at St. Martin’s Episcopal School and 399 at Montgomery Elementary School, both on Ashford-Dunwoody Road.

“Those numbers solidified what we were hearing from the community and what we saw when we went out to enforce it with man-hours,” said Gurley. “The study showed we had a significant problem with people speeding during the school day.”

Kevin C. Madigan

Kevin C. Madigan is a freelance journalist based in metro Atlanta.