EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Traffic devices and data collection are taking the next step toward a Fall implementation as they were approved for advertisement in the County Commission.
However, approval only came for advertisement as the Board of Commissioners raised discussion on privacy in the traffic cameras usage. Chairman Charlie Paris was the first to make the note as he said he was wanting to set it so that the collection of photos or information for anyone not being pursued for speeding would be deleted.
“I believe that it would be essential that that data be eliminated within a specific period of time. If it is one that is not being flagged for speeding, there would be no reason for anybody to maintain that particular data,” said Paris.
Acknowledging the importance that many people place on privacy and date like this, Paris said he wanted this stipulation for approval.
As discussion continued, the question arose about who is collecting the data. As noted during the Board of Education meeting, County Attorney David Clark confirmed that the Sheriff’s Office is contracting with a company for collection. Sheriff Nicholson also stated in the previous BOE meeting that he would have those flagged for speeding sent through a Sheriff’s Deputy, likely a Student Resource Officer, to be approved before the company would mail out a citation.
These speed cameras will be established in three areas; Mountainview Elementary School on Highway 282, Clear Creek Middle School on Clear Creek Road, and Clear Creek Elementary School on Yukon Road. The county’s approval is needed for Clear Creek and Yukon roads.
The scenario will play out as someone speeds through the area, the captured infractions are sent to a local appointed officer, which Nicholson said will likely be a SRO (School Resource Officer). That officer reviews the infractions and makes sure there are no mistakes, then the company will send out tickets to those the officer approves.
Within the county’s BOC meeting, the board considered that it would be the company that they would need to put the restriction on. Due to this, Clark suggested that the approval go for beginning the process and pursuing advertising. He noted that the county will have to approve a contract with the company and could debate the restriction at that time.
With unanimous approval, the project is proceeding, but it was understood that the county would be looking at restrictions on the data during the contracting as they work alongside Sheriff Nicholson for the process.
During the discussion, Post Commissioner Hubert Parker also suggested that they look at other government entities and how they handle the data through speed and traffic cameras such as those at traffic lights.