At least until the new year, deciding the locations of Baltimore County's 15 speed cameras may look like a game of musical chairs.
Police Chief Jim Johnson recently decided to move one speed camera from outside Sparrows Point High School to Perry Hall High School. But after reviewing traffic data a second time, Johnson decided instead to move it to Eastern Technical High School, police spokeswoman Elise Armacost told Patch on Thursday.
A work order, however, had already been filed for the camera to be moved outside Perry Hall. In early September, a sign reading "Photo Enforced," had been installed beneath the 30 mph speed limit, Armacost said.
"The chief will direct the sign to be taken down so there's no more confusion in the community," she said. "It was unfortunate as far as it has been confusing for motorists."
Johnson has conducted a "detailed traffic study" to determine where cameras are most needed and which should be moved, Armacost said. Cameras in "areas where traffic has been radically improved" will be moved to areas of greater need.
The speed camera outside Sparrows Point, planned to be moved outside Eastern Technical, was vandalized in June.
Johnson's recommendations for the new placement of speed cameras have been sent to the administration for approval, he said in an interview Wednesday. He declined, however, to say what school zones had been recommended.
Under past legislation, the total number of speed cameras was restricted to only 15. But on Jan. 1, under a new contract and a law approved by the County Council in February, the county may install an unlimited number of devices in school zones.
After the new year, a speed camera could be installed along Ebenezer Road outside Perry Hall.
"[Johnson] does intend Perry Hall High School to get a camera, but it's not happening now," Armacost said.
Perry Hall Principal George Roberts said he would support the installation of a speed camera, which would issue $40 tickets to drivers caught exceeding the speed limit by more than 12 mph.
"Anything that will promote slower speeds outside the school sounds like sound policy," Roberts said.
Any future changes to the placement of speed cameras will be publicized, Armacost said.
"A press release will certainly be sent out; we are aware that there is intense public interest surrounding this issue," she said.
Associate Regional Editor Bryan P. Sears contributed to this report.