By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - When it comes to helping Sioux City track down drivers with a lead foot, lawmakers in South Dakota say their state shouldn't help.
Republican South Dakota Senator Dan Lederman said, "Sioux City has created an ordinance that shifts the burden of proof onto the defendant, and in our court system that is unfair."
When he's not serving at the state capitol, Dan Lederman commutes to Sioux City to work every day. Driving in from his home in Dakota Dunes he sees the speed cameras along the interstate.
Sioux City Police Chief Young says the cameras are in the public interest. "They're for safety, first and foremost. I don't care what anybody says," said young.
Lederman believes there's more to it than that. "I think a lot of people in our area are frustrated with that argument because the cameras were put up originally when there was construction, they said we needed these for safety reasons. The construction is done and the cameras are still there," said Lederman. Chief Young said the city is under contract to have them out a certain number of hours.
The city uses the national law enforcement data base to match license plate information to the vehicle's owner.
Lederman drafted a bill to ban any municipality from accessing the database for civil penalties like speeding caught on camera.
Lederman said the camera footage only shows that there's a vehicle that's traveling at a certain rate, not that they're guilty.
Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young calls the legislation surprising and out of the ordinary. Young said, "This legislation is all self-serving. It ffliesin the face of interstate cooperation."
Lederman said if the bill passes, Sioux City would have to file a records request and pay for the driver data. Young said the city is meeting with their attorneys to find out how the state of South Dakota can keep any city from accessing that information.
Young said, "We don't know what authority they have. If we get that information, who's going to be punished, what's the repercussion to us if we do?"
Unlike a criminal ticket you'd get from a living, breathing police officer, speed camera tickets carry a civil penalty, which means it doesn't go on your record or your insurance.
Young said, "The dispute is between you and the city of Sioux City, and that's where it ends."
Because of changes in the state statute, Sioux City must prove the speed and right cameras are needed for safety.
They have until May 1 to bring that data to the Department of Transportation.
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