The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners recently voted to allow for traffic camera enforcement in the unincorporated portions of the county.

The move clears the was for the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office to use traffic cameras in three county school zones where speeding has been a problem, a move the department announced earlier this month.

“We need this ordinance to give the authority and power to the sheriff to enforce and cite these individuals who travel 11 miles over the speed limit in these school zones,” County Manager Jerry Cooper said.

Cooper also said this would be used during a window one hour before classes at the schools begin and one hour after they end. The only question related to adopting this new law came from Commission Chairman Harry Johnston, who asked if there would be signs related to this that would be put in place. Sheriff Frank Reynolds responded, explaining no additional signs would be put in place beyond the standard signs informing drivers they are entering a school zone.

“This was a difficult decision, any time we use technology instead of a live person. The cause for this obviously is these are state highways,” Reynolds added, explaining there are three locations believed to pose the greatest danger to children and thus would be impacted by this ordinance’s adoption, while deputies would be reviewing all information collected when issuing citations.

A motion to approve adopting the ordinance was approved in a unanimous vote of the commission.

The commission then took action on a related item, entering into an agreement with Optotraffic, LLC for the technology and services required for the speed zone enforcement. According to the agreement, Optotraffic would receive a $25 processing fee and 10 percent of the citation amount, with the rest of all money collected going to the county. The commissioners had no additional points on the matter they wanted to discuss, and a follow-up motion to approve the agreement passed in a 5-0 vote of the board.

No date has been announced for when the systems would be put into use. And, after the cameras are switched on there will be a short grace period in which speeders receive warnings instead of fines, sheriff’s office officials have said.

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