By Martha Jacob –
Ripley Police Chief Joel Barnett continues to look for ways to save his department and the village money.
At the Oct. 25 Ripley Village Council meeting, Barnett talked to council about a new program his department will be a part of called the Blue Line DragonCam.
The Blue Line DragonCam was founded by a former police chief in Tennessee. It is basically a handheld laser that allows a police officer to either conduct a traditional traffic stop or capture an image of the violation with the photo laser, issuing a civil citation by mail.
“This DragonCam won’t be mounted in a cruiser,” Chief Barnett explained, “This is a handheld device that will document every violation image it sees, and the information is automatically recorded.
“The DragonCam reports the date, time, direction, posted speed limit, vehicle speed, distance from the officer to the vehicle, highway location, the officer’s badge number and the GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken.”
According to Barnett, because the tool is in the hands of law enforcement, the violation is witnessed and captured by an officer, which allows that officer to testify to the validity of the violation, unlike the controversial cameras that are mounted in a traffic signal.
“We are very exciting to be adding this device to the Ripley Police Department,” Barnett said. “Once we’ve used the DragonCam a few hours, we come back to the office, review what’s been documented, then it is plugged directly into a small tablet that automatically sends the information to the DragonCam Company.
“DragonCam then issues all the tickets and citations to the violators. Our officer doesn’t have to do any more than that. This will save our officers a great deal of time and paperwork. Once the citations are sent out, whatever the fine is, the village gets 60% of the fine.
“Ripley Village Council will decide what the fines will be for each of the citations, which could have extenuating factors, such as speeding in a school zone. Regardless of the violation, DragonCam will handle it all. Plus, if any officer works overtime operating the DragonCam, they will reimburse our department for the hours of overtime accrued throughout the year.”
Because the unit is a LIDAR (laser), the speeding vehicle is identified by a red box, which designates the location on the vehicle where the laser made contact, eliminating any question regarding accuracy.