Safety precaution or money grab? Metro city gets nearly $1M from school speed cameras

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — School zone speed cameras are popping up across metro Atlanta and we’ve learned one city’s grabbed close to $1 million in fines.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes went to the city of South Fulton where some residents there call the whole operation a rip-off.

Everyone Fernandes spoke with agreed with the reason why city leaders put these speed cameras up in school zones.

One of the cameras has a memorial plate on it in memory of Reniya Majors, who was killed by a speeding driver while leaving school.

City leaders say the cameras are there to prevent that from ever happening again.

Arnold Jiggetts said no one in his city wants to see another child killed or injured, because people don’t slow down in school zones.

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“We did something that needed to be done in the moment. I think we can come back to the table and revisit it,” Jiggetts said.

But now that the speed cameras – posted in 10 different school zones — have raised close to $1 million in less than a year, some residents are asking city leaders to reconsider using them.

“I think the first ticket was something like $130 and the second one was $150,” said Brennan Hickman. “I don’t think we should be targeted like that. Like I said, I get the initiative and I understand that drivers need to slow down, especially in school zones, but I feel like there’s a better way to go about this rather than in our pockets.”

Some residents suggest speed bumps.

Fernandes spoke to South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards about it. He doesn’t think that’s a good idea. He said residents wanted more signage warning them about the speed cameras and city officials did that.

He also said nearly everyone who appealed their ticket got it tossed out in court and didn’t have to pay.

Hickman said it’s not that simple for everyone. He was driving a rental. The company quickly paid the fine and he had no choice but to reimburse them.

“I just wish I had the opportunity to kind of contest it and see if I could get it knocked down,” Hickman said.

Edwards also said city officials aren’t opposed to listening to what residents have to say and taking action if necessary. He believes the cameras are such a success, that he plans to use them to keep 18-wheelers off the streets as well.