NORTON — City police will begin a new speed enforcement initiative along Interstate 76 next week in an attempt to slow down speeders on the highway.
Officers will stand on bridges above the busy interstate and point a DragonCam at vehicles passing by, with violators being hit later with $200 civil fines in the mail.
The special enforcement will start Monday, police Chief John Dalessandro said.
City council approved a contract in July with Blue Line Solutions of Chattanooga, Tenn., for the DragonCam, a combined laser and camera, to start the initiative.
City leaders had hoped the program would have been in place earlier but there were delays in receiving permits from the Ohio Department of Transportation to erect signs warning motorists, Dalessandro said.
The city began installing the signs Thursday at entrance ramps at Barber Road and Cleveland-Massillon Road, and at the state Route 21 interchange. The black-and-white sign — slightly smaller than a typical speed limit sign — has a picture of a camera on it and says, "Traffic laws photo enforced."
Dalessandro advocated for the program after seeing a jump in accidents on the highway since 2016, when ODOT launched an $80.4 million project to reconstruct and widen the highway to three lanes in each direction.
Crashes along the 6-mile stretch in Norton climbed from 83 in 2016 to 147 last year.
Norton will receive 60 percent of the ticket revenue, with the rest going to Blue Line Solutions. City leaders aren’t sure how much money will be generated.
City leaders noted that they are doing their best to warn motorists about the new enforcement.
They are erecting the signs and posting a message on the police Facebook page. They also cited the fact that the program will end when the highway construction is concluded as evidence that they are focused on safety and not trying to raise revenue.
The work is scheduled to be completed in late July 2019.
The DragonCam, which is attached to an iPad, determines the speed of offenders, snaps a picture of the license plate and driver, and sends the information remotely to the company. Speeders later receive $200 civil violations — not police tickets affecting their licenses — through the mail. Anyone going 65 mph or faster would face a potential violation.
People will be able to appeal the violation through the police department.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @armonrickABJ.