Police: Photo enforcement's impact goes well beyond traffic infractions - East Valley Tribune: Public Safety

Police: Photo enforcement's impact goes well beyond traffic infractions

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Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 4:05 pm | Updated: 2:51 pm, Fri Oct 5, 2012.

Not only has speed photo enforcement been instrumental in slowing down habitual speeders, it has been instrumental in identifying suspects of crimes and helped lead to their arrests.

Such was the case at least twice during high-profile cases in Tempe, a city soon to end its speed photo enforcement contract with Phoenix-based vendor Redflex Traffic Systems, effective July 19.

And although cities claim that the speed photo enforcement programs it implements on city streets are “revenue-neutral,” it’s hard to put a price tag on catching criminals who may continue to elude the law after committing the crime in the city and speeding away without a chance of being photographed.

In December, officers of the Phoenix office of the U.S. Marshal’s Service arrested Joseluis Marguez, 20, a transient, on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection to the May 2010 death of Arizona State University student Kyleigh Sousa. His arrest came seven months after officers believe he was the one behind the wheel of a 2008 champagne-colored Charger witnesses saw at the scene.

Marguez is accused of grabbing Sousa’s purse and speeding away as Sousa was entangled in her purse straps and fatally injured after she was dragged near the ASU campus.

Hours after the crime, police began reviewing a database of hundreds of speed photo enforcement tickets to locate any cars that possibly matched the description of the one witnesses saw flee the scene on May 26. Marquez was issued a speed photo enforcement ticket in Tempe on May 10, while driving a rental car out of California. The car also has been recovered.

On July 17, 2010, Tempe police arrested Cody Davis, 22, of Mesa, who police say was behind the wheel around 11:45 p.m. July 10 when his car hit Bradley Jason Scott, 32, of Mesa who was riding his bicycle through the intersection of Rural Road and Southern Avenue.

Davis was making a left turn from Southern to Rural when his vehicle collided with Scott. The speed photo enforcement camera was instrumental in helping to identify the vehicle Davis was driving when police did not initially have any suspects, according to police.

A video of the collision shows that Davis did not stop, but other motorists stopped to help Scott, who later died at a hospital.

The city ended its contract with Redflex by a 4-3 vote at a recent Tempe city Council meeting. Redflex claims the city did not pay $1.3 million in revenue generated from offenders going to traffic school.

Although not specifically commenting on the city ending its contract with Redflex, a Tempe police spokesman said on Tuesday that using a database of speed photo enforcement tickets it reviews before issuing a citations is one of the resources they have at their disposal, and they would be “remiss” if they didn’t use it.

“Obviously, photo enforcement has helped,” said Sgt. Steve Carbajal, a Tempe police spokesman. “It’s part of the puzzle to sometimes help solving crimes, but not the entire puzzle; but it was very instrumental.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or msakal@evtrib.com

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