OPP purchasing new radar cameras to collect speeding data

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Local police will soon have a new tool to help combat speeding.

On Sept. 24 Wellington County council approved the purchase of seven Black Cat radar cameras at a total cost of approximately $28,000.

The Wellington County Police Services Board recommended the purchases be made as soon as possible.

In a report on traffic complaints at the Sept. 9 board meeting, members of the Wellington County OPP explained the cameras would allow police to record traffic speed and collect data to help them more accurately determine areas to target for enforcement.

Local police currently have approximately 50 or 60 active traffic complaint areas throughout Wellington County’s seven member municipalities.

The report indicates the cameras would allow police to provide a “more timely, accurate, and thorough analysis” of reported speed issues.

“We have to recognize that traditional traffic enforcement is one small part of the solution, but it isn’t a sustainable solution,” the report states.

“To properly address the issues we have to take a multi-faceted approach with creative solutions.”

Wellington OPP currently uses three Speed Spy radar detection devices, which police officials say is not enough to meet demand from the public and local municipalities for speed reduction initiatives.

In addition, the Speed Spy devices are more limited in data collection capability and have a high failure rate in cold weather, officials explained.

The new cameras will allows police to conduct traffic studies of up to three weeks in duration on batteries alone and boast a 98% accuracy rate.

The Canadian made Black Cat units are “an all-weather solution designed to be used in a winter climate,” the report notes.

“Our current camera system and technology … its inefficient,” said councillor Dave Anderson, who represents Wellington County council on the police services board.

“So this new Black Cat system … it’s going to be more accurate, more timely.”

Anderson noted the units “will be allocated around the county as needed.”

Councillor Jeff Duncan said, “I think these things are going to be a valuable tool and I’m glad to see them going ahead quickly.”

“Does it just collect data or does it do any ticketing?” asked councillor Campbell Cork.

“They don’t have the ability to ticket,” explained Wellington OPP Inspector Paul Richardson.

“The advantage to them is they have the ability to gather the data we need to make sure we put the right resources in the right place at the right time.

“This is going to be an excellent tool in our tool box.”