Paradise Valley Speed Enforcement
Paradise Valley, Arizona is located between Phoenix and Scottsdale. With fewer than 15,000 residents, it is a bedroom community to both. In the 1980’s, the town struggled with commuters speeding between the two cities. It was an oil and water mix. Paradise Valley skews older and single-family homes that are set along cut-through roads with speed limits that were routinely ignored by the non-residents.
In 1986, when it was significantly less populated, the community suffered approximately 400 motor vehicle crashes, an alarming statistic that became a catalyst for change.
To slow traffic and build a safer community for its residents, the Paradise Valley Police Department took a major step in 1987 and became the first town in the United States to employ automated enforcement. While the initial program predates the community’s relationship with Redflex by several years, Paradise Valley remains Redflex’s longest serving automated enforcement partner.
Since those early days, Redflex has worked with the Paradise Valley Police Department to expand its automated enforcement program.
The initiative now comprises a comprehensive combination of 12 Redflex permanent red light and speed enforcement solutions at 6 fixed intersection locations, and two mobile speed enforcement units.
In the mobile solution, Paradise Valley utilizes REDFLEXspeed® systems in two police vehicles. When a speeder driving 11 miles per hour over the posted limit enters the radar beam, the vehicle is photographed from the front and rear. After a review by the Paradise Valley Police Department enforcement team to confirm the violation, the driver is issued a citation.
Paradise Valley’s Police Department also uses Redflex’s REDFLEXcombo® systems in the 6 fixed site locations to cite red light violators and intersection speeders. When the red light is active, sensors detect vehicles entering the intersection, and Redflex’s REDFLEXcombo® takes high quality images of the violator’s vehicle. During red, amber, and green cycles, the automated enforcement solution measures the speed of vehicles entering the intersection to catch speeders. As with the mobile automated enforcement vehicles, the operator of the vehicle is required to pay the fine.
Results have been dramatic and profound. According to Paradise Valley’s Police Chief, Pete Wingert, the town’s traffic volume has increased by as much as 30% since the program’s inception but in recent years, crashes have been down by more than 50% numbering fewer than 200 per year. The automated enforcement program has been so successful that in 2013, the town decided to double the number of monitored intersections.
Chief Wingert says the severity of crashes is down and that approximately 95% of the violations are issued to out of town drivers. Enforcement locations are publicized and clearly posted, and he points out that awareness of the community’s automated enforcement program has slowed traffic over time.
We also offer a defensive driver course as an alternative to paying a fine,” he said. “If we can get them to slow down, that’s a win for our residents.”
Because there are few parking lots in Paradise Valley, Chief Wingert says automated enforcement provides a level of safety and transparency for all involved. “There’s no place to make a traffic stop safely. It’s unsafe for the motoring public, the officer and the violator,” he said. “And the fact that automated enforcement doesn’t see who’s in the car and is unbiased is another important factor.”
Chief Wingert says that automated enforcement has allowed him to deploy police resources to address other issues. “We are a community policing agency. We can check on suspicious activity and we can redeploy officers where they’re most needed,” he said.
Asked what he might tell his police peers considering an automated enforcement program, Wingert suggested the benefits can go beyond slowing traffic on major roads and in busy intersections.
I’d say don’t overlook the ability to use automated enforcement in the neighborhoods. Our partnership with Redflex on neighborhood automated enforcement in the community has been very beneficial,” he said.
For more information on Paradise Valley’s automated enforcement program, please visit: https://www.paradisevalleyaz.gov/153/Photo-Radar.