TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Technology has always developed at light speed, and when you blend current technology with law enforcement, the result is usually impactful.
For more than 10 years, red-light cameras have been in place across Texas with several locations in East Texas including Longview, Lufkin and Marshall. But the era of the red-light camera and revenue from the seventy-five dollar a pop tickets has come to an end. Participating cities will feel the revenue pinch, some in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
But critics of the red light cameras say they are a violation of due process and assume guilt. I can understand that, so the removal of red-light cameras is the right thing to do. Additionally, we have cameras at just about every street corner and intersection now, so serious crimes rarely go unseen if they are on or near a roadway.
But with advances in technology, law enforcement have a new tool in license plate readers. The Smith County Sheriff’s office has installed the readers on several units and they have paid off because the readers can identify stolen vehicles quickly. In fact, since the program came on-line back at the beginning of the year, twenty or so vehicles have been recovered. The plate readers have also helped in child protective services cases and other instances where identifying a wanted vehicle helps meet a need or solve a crime. So, we have gone from cameras at red lights to plate readers in this most recent evolution of technology. And this step seems to have paid off now and is set to have more impact in the future. That helps public safety and makes for a Better East Texas.