Village returns $13.5K camera
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:27AM
PARK RIDGE — A camera system purchased by the Park Ridge Police Department last year was supposed to help parking enforcement officers better identify vehicles that had overstayed their three-hour parking limit.
But the system has since been returned after department leaders realized it could not be used in the way they had intended.
Last spring the Park Ridge City Council heard about how the camera system’s technology is capable of “reading” license plate numbers and could act as “virtual chalk” to identify cars that had been parked too long in a given space.
Police Chief Frank Kaminski and Deputy Police Chief Lou Jogmen explained that shortly after receiving the camera it was discovered that the system would be unable to identify if a vehicle had been moved several feet within a parking area. Several years ago the city eliminated zoned parking in Uptown, allowing drivers to park for three hours in one space and then move to another space on the same street or same parking lot and not be subject to a ticket.
“Zoned parking would have lent itself to this system, but the way we have parking makes it too unreliable,” Jogmen explained. “We obviously don’t want to write bad tickets and have issues that way, so we decided to air on the side of caution and not use (the camera).”
The technology cost the city $13,545. Kaminski said the department received a “full refund” and the money will be used for other public safety equipment.
“It was very disappointing that they couldn’t get the cameras to work the way they needed to work,” he said. “Maybe we need to look at another vendor.”
The technology was also capable of scanning license plates of moving vehicles and running the information through databases that would let officers know if a car was stolen, belongs to someone with an outstanding arrest warrant, has been identified in an Amber Alert or is on a list of vehicles eligible for booting by the city.
Kaminski said the department had been more interested in using the equipment for parking enforcement, however.