Speed cameras - photo enforcement, whatever you want to call the technology, can be an important law enforcement tool, like mug shots and fingerprints, it helps detect crime.
When the debate was over Scottsdale's use of photo enforcement on the 101, I sided with Scottsdale's right to use speed cameras on a highway going through their city where there was a speeding problem. And yes, there was a serious problem with speeding on the northern part of the 101 in Scottsdale, I can remember driving around 70 MPH and having other vehicles blow my doors off. I also found that my average speed increased with the higher average traffic speed, which sometimes was over 75 MPH. This was a public safety issue that the City of Scottsdale had every right to act on with the use of speed cameras as a law enforcement tool and, as a believer local control of government, I found no justification for the state of Arizona or the legislature to interfere with traffic enforcement on a highway running through a municipality, even if the highway was paid for by the state of Arizona.
Scottsdale's case was the perfect case for the use of speed cameras as a law enforcement tool. The camera simple took a picture as evidence that you were violating the speed limit.
I still think I was right in defending a local government's right to use speed cameras to enforce the law in their community but I may have been on a slippery slop.
Former Governor Janet Napolitano, (gee that sounds good, former Governor), didn't see speed cameras as merely a tool to assist in traffic enforcement in problem areas, as it was used in Scottsdale. Napolitano saw speed cameras as a way to enhance revenue to the state of Arizona through speeding fines.
There is a big difference between the use of the speed camera for a public safety purpose and for a revenue purpose. It's similar, in some respect, to the government's use of armed police to protect it's citizens and the use of armed police to take a citizen's money.
We the people, give our elected representatives the right to make the law for our safety and the right to enforce the law on behalf of the people. Yes, by all means, stop that speeder who is recklessly endangering my life and the life of other drivers. If there was drag racing on the street on live on I would be on the phone to the police demanding enforcement, for my own safety. Napolitano however, was not using speed cameras and the power of the state on behalf of the people or, for their safety, she was using the power of the state to take money from the people, solely to increase revenue to the state. In a way, Napolitano used the speed camera and the power of the state to rob certain people of their money under the guise of being for, their own safety.
The way Napolitano used speed cameras in Arizona was an abuse of the power of government under the name of public safety. Maybe the government could set up a camera at my front door and restrict me from leaving my house during certain hours for, my own safety. Maybe the government could set up a camera in my home, for my own safety. And just maybe the government could put me in jail and take away all my rights, for my own safety. It would be much better for, my safety, and, the people's safety, however, if the government didn't use speed cameras to abuse it's law enforcement power to take money from the people in the name of public safety or, for my own safety.