Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., the company that operates Arizona's photo-radar program, sent shock waves around Arizona today with an early-morning announcement that the great, Arizona, photo-radar experiment is coming to an end.
In a press release this morning, Redflex announced that officials at the Arizona Department of Public Safety made it clear that as of July 1, the company's services would no longer be needed because of "a change in the agency's focus."
"Redflex regrets this decision by DPS and believes it has been the exemplary supplier of traffic safety services and has delivered safety outcomes for the benefit of all citizens of the state of Arizona," the company says in the release.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said back in January it was unlikely that the state's contract with Redflex would be renewed, so the news shouldn't come as too much of a shock to anyone.
The timing, however, couldn't have been better for Arizona's un-elected governor.
We were curious to know if the timing of the DPS' official cancelation of photo enforcement had anything to do with Brewer's current flash of popularity among Arizona's knuckle-dragging electoral majority after signing SB 1070, the controversial immigration bill that has entranced the national media.
Since signing the bill, Brewer's approval rating has spiked from 40 percent in mid-April to 56 percent currently.
Now, after DPS chief and Brewer appointee, Robert Halliday, has officially put the kibosh on the hated photo-enforcement program, Brewer could go from somewhat popular to rock-star popular.
If Brewer had anything to do with the announcement of the decision coinciding with her current wave of popularity, we may never know. Before we had a chance to speak with anyone at the DPS, the agency issued a press release literally saying nothing more than: "The project is in the process of winding down and DPS has no comment."
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Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman already is giving the gov credit for the end of photo radar, telling KTAR "the governor didn't like the design of the program to be so revenue-specific in the first place. Public safety should be for public safety."
In the final analysis, Jan Brewer may be popular again -- maybe more popular than ever -- but at the end of the day, only one thing matters: Photo radar (in the words of Barack Obama) is "adios amigos!"