On Tuesday, Feb. 5, the North Harris County Criminal Justice Association held their monthly breakfast. The group counts among its members, employees from virtually every law enforcement agency in the county, including the Houston Police Department, the FBI, bail bondsmen, lawyers, and local politicians. Many of them were at Italiano's Restaurant in Humble last week for an early breakfast meeting. The group's president, Wally Wieghat of the Precinct 4 Constables Office, served as emcee for the meeting, and Humble Chief of Police Gary Warman the guest speaker. Working the crowd like a professional, the Chief was both informative and entertaining, beginning his oration by mentioning that he was only there because the group could not find "a real speaker." Warman spoke mainly on the topic of the red-light cameras that had recently been installed in Humble. He said that there were 1,800 traffic accidents in Humble in 2007, 200 of which resulted in serious injury or death; the main reason that Humble was having so many collisions, he said, was that people were running red lights. According to Warman, a study conducted of area stop- lights found that one particular light was ran 88 times in an eight-hour span. The cameras, which take a picture of a person who runs a red light and generates a citation to be sent in the mail, went into operation in November, "and since then, we've sent out about 1,000 tickets a month," he said. Signs are posted advertising the camera system at the five intersections where they are being utilized. If a driver receives a ticket, the cost is $75, but the occurrence does not affect their driving record. There are measures to attempt to dispute the citation, but each ticket comes with a personalized number at the bottom. Those who receive citations can log onto a Web site and watch video of themselves at the intersection. They can then request to have their case reviewed by the City, at which point they and an Humble P.D. officer will watch the disputed video together. If the officer feels the driver is guilty, the driver can take things one step further and request that the case go before a judge. "But, if the judge still finds you guilty, your fine is raised to $100, so I suggest you just save yourself the $25," warned the Chief. Warman also touched on the notion many people have that the City is bringing in a lot of revenue from the cameras, saying that the state Legislature receives half of any funds collected after expenses. He insisted that the cameras were installed mainly for the safety of the general public, and that the City was looking into the possibility of adding five more. Once Warman had finished speaking, local political candidates promoted their races. Those present included: candidates for Harris County District Attorney, Pat Lykos and Kelly Siegler; candidates for Precinct 4 Constable, Ron Hickman and Louis Guthrie; candidate for Harris County Tax Collector, Diane Trautman; candidate for Harris County Sheriff, Paul Day; and a representative for Sen. Tommy Williams. Photo cutline: NHCCJA President Wally Wieghat and Police Chief Gary Warman headlined the breakfast meeting. Photo by James Holmes

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