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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Getting There: Dashboard-mounted speeding cameras may soon be installed in some Spokane police cars

A Spokane police officer is shown driving a Ford Police Interceptor patrol car in this 2014 photo.  (COLIN MULVANY)

The Spokane City Council will consider spending nearly $49,000 to install dashboard-mounted, speed-measuring cameras in some police patrol vehicles.

The devices are envisioned to help make up for a lack of traffic enforcement officers, who along with some other units were reassigned to patrol duties during a major reorganization of the police department at the start of 2023.

While reckless driving and driving under the influence citations have not dropped as a result of the reorganization, other citations have been issued at a slower pace than last year, said Julie Humphreys, a police spokeswoman. Humphreys was not able to provide data on how steeply citations have dropped prior to press time.

If approved, 12 speed radar cameras would be installed in patrol vehicles during an 18-month pilot program. Unlike handheld speed-measuring devices, the new units could be used by officers while driving, allowing for speed readings from both in front and behind the patrol vehicle.

During the 18-month pilot, data would be collected on how often officers issue tickets using the devices to determine if the devices are worth the expense, Humphreys said. At least eight of the dashboard-mounted models are already in use but only in the vehicles of officers previously assigned to traffic enforcement.

The pilot program would be paid for out of the traffic calming fund, revenue collected from speed and red-light cameras that can be used for programs to mitigate the safety risks associated with motor vehicles, often involving improvements to physical infrastructure.

In addition to the money set aside for a pilot program to install some dashboard-mounted speed radar devices, an additional $75,000 of traffic calming funds will be set aside to cover the overtime costs of officers conducting traffic safety emphasis patrols in each precinct in the city. Some of that overtime began in April, according to a staff report prepared for the City Council, and the department has requested lawmakers approve retroactive reimbursement for those expenses.

Work to watch for

Crews are working on crack sealing on Barnes Road, and Sundance to Indian Trail Road in Spokane.

Crews will be working on a grind-and-overlay project on Fiske Street between 15th and 17th avenues.

The Liberty Lake 4th of July parade will slow traffic on Shoreline Drive between Liberty and Alpine drives on Tuesday. The parade begins at 11 a.m.