Farmville town council signs off on safety cameras deal

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, August 17, 2023

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It was the quickest part of last Wednesday’s town council meeting. By a unanimous vote, the Farmville council approved Police Chief Andy Ellington’s request to sign up for the SafetyStick program.

The SafetyStick, created by Municipal Parking Services Inc. (MPS) Intelligence Infrastructure, is a four-foot-tall, solar-powered camera designed to catch illegally parked cars for the purpose of “increasing safety in your city by eliminating dangerous traffic behaviors,” according to an MPS Solutions article.

How do the safety cameras work?

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The SafetyStick, which would be installed by the company free of charge, would be placed at various sites where the Farmville Police Department (FPD) receives many complaints of illegal parking, such as fire hydrants, fire lanes and bus stops.

The device has a built-in camera to detect cars that park illegally, then starts a two-minute timer once the vehicle is detected. After the two-minute grace period — allowed for drop offs or temporary halts — the camera will start to capture an image of the vehicle and will then create a parking violation.

At the end of the day, the violations the SafetyStick accumulates would be downloaded to the cloud and will be sent to MPS. The company then would review the violations to make sure there is a clear image and unrestricted view of the vehicle’s tags and other identifying markers before sending the violation over to the police department the next day.

Once the police department receives the violations, they would review it themselves, stamp the approval and mail the citation out to the violator.

For each parking violation, MPS receives 40% of the fine. FPD would have 90 days from the day they mail out the violation or issue the summons to recoup the costs, but if they do not receive the payment from the violator after those 90 days are up, they would still be obligated to compensate MPS.

In addition to receiving 40% from every citation, MPS also requires that they make $140 each month. If MPS does not collect $140 each month, the company will either remove the SafetySticks — again, free of charge — or move them to other areas.