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Waterloo officials move forward with traffic ticket program

June 6, 2018

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Waterloo officials have advanced a proposal for a traffic ticket program despite concerns about whether the new process would unfairly penalize the city’s minority populations.

The City Council approved the second reading of the ordinance Monday despite requests from the Waterloo Human Rights Commission and NAACP for additional time to review the program, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported .

The ordinance would create new municipal fines that police officers can issue instead of state traffic tickets.

Supporters say local citations would be less costly for motorists and add revenue to the city budget.

Under the proposal, a motorist would be fined $75 for speeding at 11 mph over the limit. The citation wouldn’t go onto their driving record and the fine would go to the city. Currently, a state ticket for the same offense would cost $222 in fines and court cost. It’s also included on a driving record and doesn’t bring in revenue for the city.

The proposed tickets would improve public safety, said Police Chief Dan Trelk.

“We have a speeding problem in Waterloo,” Trelka said. “This gives us a tool to address not only that speeding problem but the issues that are causing our crashes — blowing red lights — and the issues that are causing our deaths.”

Some residents had hoped the commission could review the proposal to ensure it wouldn’t encourage racial profiling. A review is important given racial tensions in the country, said resident Terry Stevens.

“I implore you to take a closer look at not only the potential of increased revenue for the city . but also the possible ramifications associated with this new ordinance and how quotas, racial profiling and the safety of citizens might be impacted by the number of tickets issued,” she said.

The final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for next week.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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