Vote on traffic enforcement cameras pushed back in Gonzales

Staff Report

After finalizing details of the ordinance, the Gonzales City Council could vote at an upcoming meeting on bringing traffic enforcement cameras to the city.

City leaders have discussed the possibility of installing an electronic camera system to address traffic violations such as speeding.

Both Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson and Mayor Barney Arceneaux have expressed concern about safety, particularly in the city's school zones.

The Gonzales officials both expressed their continued support of the cameras, according to a report from Baton Rouge television station WBRZ.

The mayor said he expects the details of the ordinance to be worked out over a two-week period.

Stephen Ussery, a retired Gonzales police officer with 21 years of service who plans to run for Chief of Police in 2024, was among those expressing concerns over the camera system when it was first introduced.

His first concern was the cost and the revenue to be generated from the equipment.

"The city’s tax base and the revenue collected by the department from citations, arrests and other fines seems to far outweigh the cost and revenue from this endeavor meaning the city is not hurting for revenue," he said in a statement shared with the Weekly Citizen.

Ussery said he worked 17 of his 21 years in the traffic division as a motorcycle officer. He expressed concern that the department has been getting away from prioritizing the "backbone" of any law enforcement agency, which he said is its patrol division.

"Adequate visibility of officers on the streets, known as Officer Presence, is crucial and essential in the initial deterrent of crime. Since my retirement, I have seen less and less of officer presence on the streets and especially in the school zones where this equipment will be utilized," he stated.

He went on to point out officers have the discretion to give warnings, issue citations, or make arrests.