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Updated: Traffic concerns discussed at inagural Coffee with the Chief

Posted: May 29, 2014 - 7:03pm
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MICHELLE CORBET STAFF PHOTO  Bill Burley (right) discusses community concerns with Conway Police Chief AJ Gary at the first Coffee with the Chief event at the Patio Cafe Thursday morning.
MICHELLE CORBET STAFF PHOTO Bill Burley (right) discusses community concerns with Conway Police Chief AJ Gary at the first Coffee with the Chief event at the Patio Cafe Thursday morning.

Updated: A previous version of this story said current legislation allows the City of Conway to pass an ordinance to utilize red light cameras, but such an ordinance has never made it out of committee. Current state legislation does not allow cities to use red light cameras. 

Community members gathered at the Patio Cafe Thursday morning to discuss issues and concerns of public safety with Conway Police Chief AJ Gary at the first Coffee with the Chief event.

Citizens expressed several concerns all related to traffic safety and/or violations.

Bill Burley raised the first question about whether the City of Conway was still exploring the option to install red light cameras at traffic lights.

Chief Gary said current state legislation does not allow the City of Conway to pass ordinances to utilize red light cameras. Such legislation has never made it out of committee.

If the city were able to use red light cameras, Gary said, the technology would need to be “well regulated and for the purpose of reducing accidents and not raising revenue,” he said.

“Video from the camera would be reviewed and verified before a citation is issued,” he said.

Centennial Valley residents voiced concerns about children recreationally driving golf carts in their neighborhood.

Teenagers are allowed to drive golf carts, Gary said, as long as they are at least 16 years old and have a valid drivers license.

Major Larry Hearn said there would be zero tolerance for unlicensed kids driving golf carts.

“Kids will be issued tickets,” he said, “and if parents cannot be contacted, golf carts will be towed.”

Ronnie McGaha said he’s seen motorcyclists speeding and “doing wheelies” on Dave Ward Drive. McGaha also said he’s seen motorcycles parked in striped no parking areas around handicapped parking spaces.

Gary said the Conway Police Department cannot issue a ticket or make an arrest based on the description of a traffic violation, but patrol officers can be sent out to look for particular violations.

“We look at this as a partnership,” he said. “We need the eyes and ears of the community.”

Citizens are encouraged to call CPD to report unlawful behavior at 501-450-6120.

The next Coffee with the Chief has not yet been scheduled, but Gary said he plans to meet with the community for coffee on a quarterly basis.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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