Ex-cop slams speed traps
By BILL LAYE, CALGARY SUN

Nabbing drivers with photo radar in transitional speed zones is not only dirty pool, it's dangerous, says a former city cop who now helps fight traffic tickets.

Charlie Pester, of Pointts, who spent seven years on the force, said he agrees with Justice Peter Martin's comments during Calgarian John Hilton's unsuccessful ticket appeal -- suggesting the placement of the Multanova camera in this case was unfair and appeared aimed at generating cash rather than safer roads.

"It's all about money," Pester said, adding once people hear there's no leeway in the law -- since in the end the judge had no choice but to uphold Hilton's fine -- there will be more car crashes in Calgary.

"What this will lead to is the slam-brakes mentality if that's the way police want to enforce it ... what kind of idea is that? Talk about creating accidents."

Hilton was clocked at 84 km/h on Crowchild, just north of 17 Ave. S.W., where the posted limit drops from 80 km/h to 70 km/h.

And while retired cop Ron Hyde stops short of calling Hilton's fine a clear case of cash grab, he agrees the placement of the camera that nabbed him was at least a little unfair.

"There is some positive effect from photo radar, but some of their positionings leave a bit to be desired," said Hyde, who now runs A1 Traffic Ticket Defense in Calgary.

But in this high-tech day and age, motorists have to realize that photo radar -- no matter where it's parked -- is here to stay and is helping reduce accidents, said Stewart Dixon, owner of Community Court Services.