This week Capt. Paul Starks, of the Montgomery County Police Department, takes on questions from Patch readers about speed camera installations, cops and photography and court fines.
Reader Question: Since the speed cameras are operated by a private company for their own profit and the county's profit, can a private person or homeowner put one in the neighborhood?
R: Do we have to bid to get one?
R: If it's about safety, as we hear so often, why not [put a speeding camera] where speeding is occurring?
S: We do that.
R: How about canvassing neighborhoods to find out if one is necessary?
S: That is not a part of the process or the law. To learn more about the automated Traffic Enforcement Unit, please go to www.mymcpnews.com click on the Divisions page then click on the Traffic page.
R: I know you have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk but what about people still standing on the curb who might be crossing? Sometimes it's hard to tell if they are ready to cross.
S: You don’t have to but you should proceed cautiously to be safe and courteous.
R: Does a moving violation ticket (e.g. speeding, passing where prohibited, etc.) include a court fee in addition to the fine for the violation? If so, can the court fee dramatically exceed the amount of the fine? Last, if one is admitting the infraction and paying the ticket, is there any break on the court fee because no further proceeding is necessary? This comes from an experience in another state and I am trying to get a reality check.
S: The courts set the fines and fees.
R: What is the county's "official" policy about police officers being photographed by civilians?
S: They may be photographed as long as it doesn’t interfere with an officer’s duties.
Have a question for our Ask A Cop feature? E-mail Editor Ryan McDermott at email@example.com or submit your question in our comments section. Remember to come back next week for answers.