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Surprise won't renew speed cameras contract

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- There will be no more speed cameras in Surprise.

The city has decided not to renew its contract with RedFlex.

At first, city leaders thought that speed cameras would be a good idea in Surprise.

"It was originally presented to our community as a way to change behavior that wasn't going to come at a net cost to the city," Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott said. "It didn't pan out that way."

Traffic tickets generated by the cameras brought in about $150,000 to Surprise since 2010, but Wolcott said it costs the city twice that amount to run the program.

"It's about $150,000 dollars that was the net bottom line that we had to end up paying out," Wolcott said.

Surprise Police Chief Michael Frazier told Wolcott that not renewing the contract with RedFlex would save Surprise enough money to hire two police officers.

"I'm not saying that that's necessarily going to happen," Wolcott said. "But my chief of police is my chief policy advisor when it comes to public safety. When he says to me that that could pay for two motor officers, that speaks volumes to me."

Surprise will stop using the cameras on May 3rd.

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About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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