Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 30, 2007


Host: Jose Cardenas

50 Years of State Parks


  • Kartchner Caverns State Park gears up for its big “Cave Fest” celebraton as Arizona State Parks commemorates fifty years of public recreation, education and natural beauty. Ellen Bilbrey of Arizona State Parks joins Jose Cardenas in the studio.
Guests:
  • Jack Lane - Chief, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division
  • Ellen Bilbrey - Arizona State Parks
Category: Environment

View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on "Horizon", the photo speed enforcement project on the Loop 101 has been called "very successful". We talk about the program's impact on speeding and accidents and the potential for expanding the cameras to other highways in Arizona. Plus, Kartchner Caverns State Park gears up for its big "cave fest" celebration as Arizona State Parks commemorates fifty years of public recreation, education and natural beauty. Those stories coming up on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas, welcome to "Horizon." The hot topic of speed cameras on the Loop 101 freeway is going before the Scottsdale city council tonight. Council members will vote on reactivating the cameras. It was a pilot program to test the effectiveness of photo speed enforcement on area freeways. Scottsdale tested the program for nine months along a seven-mile stretch of the Loop 101 between Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. Speeding tickets generated $2.3 million. When the cameras were turned off, Scottsdale asked the state to take over the program. The Governor responded with support of photo enforcement, but urged Scottsdale to redeploy the system itself. More about photo enforcement in a moment, first, Merry Lucero looks at how the program affected the rate of collisions.

Merry Lucero:
The aftermath of a car crash: twisted metal, broken glass, and often shattered lives. This one, thankfully, is not a real crash, but a demonstration staged by the Phoenix Fire Department during a public safety event hosted by the Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Council.

Mike Sandulak:
The Phoenix Fire Department responded to almost 15,000 car wrecks last year. We responded to almost 800 this year. So we average about 40 car wrecks a day in the Valley, in the City of Phoenix alone. While we're here today, the Fire Department is going to do a little simulation of what it's like to be a restrained passenger, which we recommend everybody to wear their seatbelts, as opposed to a child or adult that's unrestrained, what could actually happen to them.

Merry Lucero:
State, local and federal agencies participated in the traffic safety event at the State Capitol. This recreation dramatized the horrible result of not wearing a seatbelt and the procedure of extricating a person who is trapped in a wrecked vehicle. Speed is often a contributing factor to crashes. That statement is supported by the photo speed enforcement's pilot program on the Scottsdale Loop 101 freeway. The study concluded the cameras made drivers reduce their speeds by nearly 10 miles per hour, which reduced the likelihood of some collisions by as much as 70\%. Specifically the frequency of sideswipes and injury crashes were reduced. Rear-end collisions, however, increased because drivers who follow too closely often did not stop in time when they saw the camera. But according to the study, overall crashes did decrease under the photo radar program.

José Cárdenas:
Joining me now to talk more about photo speed enforcement is chief Jack Lane of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division. Chief, welcome to "Horizon"

Jack Lane:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, in the intro, we talked about the $2.3 million that were generated by the photo enforcement program that Scottsdale had enforced. There nevertheless is a misperception that's really all this is about, the money. How do you respond to that?

Jack Lane:
Well, I can't speak for other jurisdictions, but with DPS, if we look at this type of technology we don't recoup any of the costs. Basically it's a citation our officer writes into the county court system. Then the counties utilize those funds to replenish the use for the courts, the prosecutors, the jails that we utilize. So with DPS, when we look at photo enforcement, if we implement those technologies or when we get around to implementing those technologies, it's strictly a public safety issue to us. Obviously it's going to take a certain amount of funds to pay for those resources. There's private vendors that supply those services. So we'd like to at least recoup the costs of that so that the people that are violating that law are basically paying for the system that's going to help slow down those drivers and make it a safer highway for the public.

José Cárdenas:
Now, if the Scottsdale City Council goes forward and does vote to redeploy, what all is involved in that? How quickly could that happen?

Jack Lane:
My understanding is that the systems they have are in place. They haven't removed the cameras. Basically the cameras were put into a "stand by mode" as part of the study. They were still gathering data of the vehicles travelling through that area. The difference being they weren't actually issuing citation at that point. My understanding is it's pretty simplistic for them to get their cameras back in operations through their Police Department, traffic administrators, court administrators. They already have those systems in place. It should be pretty quick if they decide to do so?

José Cárdenas:
So redeployment would be pretty quick, but what about if the state takes over, DPS gets involved? How difficult of a process is it? How long would it take?

Jack Lane: It's-- We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We've already put a team together. We want to base any technology like this that we're going to put out there on good, sound statistical data, and put that technology in places where it's going to have an impact on public safety. So we've got some starting points. The starting points is taking some of the data from the Scottsdale project, and meeting with the experts and the consultants that worked with them and trying to develop data on how would we deploy the same type of technologies not just in that Scottsdale corridor, but other corridors in the Valley and throughout the state, where it's going to have the best impact on lowering traffic speeds and making it safer out there for the public.

José Cárdenas:
Now, if the redeployment goes forward, as I understand it, we're talking about June would be the extension of that. Will the state be ready in June to take over?

Jack Lane:
You know, I think it's too early to say. I think we could possibly have some systems in place to begin some small operations around that time. But through procurement laws, we have a lot of work to do in writing requests for proposal, because we'll have to utilize private vendors on this, and we'd have to look at how's the system going to be paid for. We're working really closely. We've already begun meetings with our county partners, and on how the courts would handle the additional workload with this type of project. So before we ever flip the switch, as you say, we want to make sure all the systems are ready to handle that type of a workload, and that it's put together in a good method. We've got a potential for developing a model for the rest of the nation here, and I think that it's important that we go about it in a methodical fashion and do it the right way, based on good statistical data.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, it sounds like quite an undertaking to get this going, at least on a broader basis than it's currently employed. Is there any question as to whether the benefits of this system outweigh these costs?

Jack Lane:
I think that's why we have to move slowly on this. I think it's important that we've got to, in those places where we start utilizing the technologies, we continue to follow that. We just don't place the technology out there and then see what it does. I think we have to follow up with additional studies and make sure it is having an impact on the roadway safety. If it's doing that, ideally if the system works the way it's supposed to, it's going to generate little revenue for whoever receives that revenue, because it will lower those speeds and it will change behaviors on the drivers out there.

José Cárdenas:
What about the study done to date on Scottsdale's system in terms of safety? There seem to be some contradictory conclusions regarding collisions, for example.

Jack Lane:
Well, it appeared to show that it did lower some collisions and it lowered the severity of some collisions. As you earlier reported, there was an increase in rear-end collisions. I'm not really sure what that is tied to. It's my understanding that there's some discussion that possibly people are coming into those zones they know are photo enforcement involved, and then maybe they're starting to slow down pretty quickly. And that's causing other vehicles to rear end them. The good news is definitely lowered the severity of those collisions. So we hope that that statistical data will help us in developing our program.

José Cárdenas:
Now, there are some things that technology can't control. You've got population growth, which means more freeways. At what point does it not become cost effective, or do you think there's always some benefit to be obtained by photo enforcement?

Jack Lane:
I think if you gain any benefit of making the road way safer, you save any type of lives by slowing some of the speeds down, you're always going to have a benefit. That's the bottom line. It's expensive to train and equip and put patrol officers out there, and it's time consuming. And photo enforcement, by no means, would ever replace an officer. But that expense, that benefit of putting that officer out there, contributes to the public safety. So I think we have to look at how we can utilize these technologies to enhance our officer's ability to enhance the safety on the roadways.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, last legislative session, there were various legislative proposals to deal with photo enforcement, various issues. What can you tell us about that and what we can expect this legislative session?

Jack Lane:
Well, I think last session, there were some bills that some legislators were seeking to basically make photo enforcement on any freeway system unlawful. I'm not aware of any this year that are taking place. There's at least two bills that I'm aware of involving photo enforcement. One involves where would the revenues go. I believe one of our legislators saying let's take any profit revenues or whatever the correct terminology is, and take those and put them back into law enforcement so we can book more officers out there, utilize those resources, put more of the funds into our state crime lab systems, so we can really expand those. There's some critical needs there. So that's a policymaker decision and our 90 legislators obviously have their hands full in putting together those type of policies. Whatever the outcome of that, we'll make whatever adjustments we need to. We think this is a potential for or a tool in our officer's tool box. So hopefully they'll lend us support along that line.

José Cárdenas:
What about concerns that using photo enforcement systems is an invasion of civil liberties, a concern about Big Brotherism?

Jack Lane:
You know, I don't think that should be a concern. Our purpose in the photo enforcement, again, is to change driver's behaviors and slow those speeds down. We're not tracking people where they're at, where they're going. That's not a concern to us. Our concern is to get those speeds lowered out there and have an impact on public safety. So I think that's misplaced concern at best.

José Cárdenas:
As I understand it, one of the concerns under the Scottsdale system, at least at one point, was the fact that system was also catching -- not catching is probably not right word, but police officers themselves, DPS officers were being flashed as they went through. Tell us about that, and how you dealt with it.

Jack Lane:
Well, we've had a very good system in place with the City of Scottsdale. Obviously for our officers to go out there and do the job they're going to have to exceed the speed limits. They're responding to emergencies, where there's people that are seriously injured. They're responding to emergencies where there might be a felony taking place. They basically have to accelerate their speeds beyond what a violator is performing in order to catch that violator, and they were getting flashed with the cameras. We have a good system in place where we receive all those from the vendor. We take each of those on a case-by-case basis, and look into the circumstances of what that officer was doing to make sure he was acting within policy and within the law. I mean, we shouldn't be -- we shouldn't be exempt from making sure that our officers are doing what they're supposed to. We do have concerns that sometimes that technology may have an effect of causing officers to migrate away from those areas because there has been some media outlets that plastered their pictures on the front of the paper, and we don't want that to happen. So that's why we stand tall, we look into each circumstance, we have workable policies for our officers obviously that have to exceed those speed limits, and we're going to stand behind our officers when they're out there trying to do their job.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, we're about out time, but quickly, what's the status of primary seat belt law enforcement? Any proposals?

Jack Lane:
I'm glad you asked. There will be another bill this year in the legislature, it's already been introduced. Very strong advocates of getting a primary seat belt law. We know -- obviously, we have a secondary, which means that we have to have another violation before we can stop and also cite for the seatbelt violation. The primary seat belt laws will encourage more use of the seat belts, gives us an opportunity to really educate the public even more on the side of the road, if need be, through a warning and sometimes a citation of wearing that seat belt because we know it does save lives.

José Cárdenas:
Chief Jack Lane, Arizona Department of Highway Safety, thanks for join us on the "Horizon".

Jack Lane:
Thank you

José Cárdenas:
Arizona State Parks is planning a day brimming with cave mysteries for families to experience together this weekend at Kartchner Caverns State Park. It is part of a host of events put on by state parks to commemorate its 50th anniversary. In a moment we'll talk more about a wide range of events and celebrations, and we'll have some beautiful video to show you of some of those parks. First, here's a look at a brief history of another Arizona treasure: Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, in the southern part of the state.

Reporter:
Just east of I-19 between Tucson and Nogales lies the town of Tubac. Tubac was once a Spanish Presidio, Arizona's first European settlement. It was a Confederate outpost, the home of Charles Poston, the father of Arizona and even produced Arizona's first newspaper. Tubac has been abandoned and come back to life so many times it has been called the city with nine lives. In the 1950's, it seemed once again to be slipping into on security. -- obscurity. Yet today it is the home of Arizona's first state park and a thriving artist community.

Jose Cardenas:
Joining us now with more on the state park's 50th anniversary is Ellen Bilbrey of Arizona State Parks. Ellen thanks for joining us on "Horizon." Let's talk about the 50th anniversary celebrations and begin with the oldest state park, Tubac.

Ellen Bilbrey:
You just saw a beautiful piece on that. And I think that 1700 when Juan Batista came up from Mexico and founded the presidio here and then in San Francisco it's a very rich place for people to go visit and learn about.

Jose Cardenas:
We were talking a little bit off camera about that trip. There were some interesting statistics I think tie into the safety aspects we were discussing earlier.

Ellen Bilbrey:
You go all the way across the country with 276 immigrants and cows and horses and all kinds of things, only one person died. It was a woman in childbirth on that whole trek over months and months and months through the deserts, all the way through California and up to northern California to San Francisco. I think it's pretty interesting.

Jose Cardenas:
So travel was a little bit safer.

Ellen Bilbrey:
It was safer then.

Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about some of the other events that are planned as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

Ellen Bilbrey:
This weekend is a really big event, the cave fest at Kartchner Caverns State Park. We have a series of activities going on all day. We have a movie of our sister cave in Italy which is also being protected and developed in the same way as Kartchner Caverns.

Jose Cardenas:
We have beautiful video on screen right now.

Ellen Bilbrey:
Yes. You can see this stalactites coming down from the ceiling there. The whole inside of the cave is being protected for its eco-system with the little bugs in the soil and in the guano produced by the bats. It all has developed inside. In the summer we shut down the caves and not allow anyone to go in there because -- in the big room because the bats are in there and they're having their babies in there.

Jose Cardenas:
You talked about a sister cave in Italy?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Yes. It's a very beautiful cave, much bigger than Kartchner Caverns. But they are following a lot of what we're doing at Kartchner Caverns because they're developing the same cave only it's much bigger than ours. That's all.

Jose Cardenas:
I want to come back in a little bit to some of the specifics regarding the Kartchner Caverns cave fest. But what other kinds of things are you doing to celebrate the 50th anniversary? I understand we have some mariachi festivals and art shows.

Ellen Bilbrey:
Amazing things. We have artists coming out to a lot of the parks, a whole series of painting opportunities. If you're an artist you need to come out and spend some of the outdoor painting opportunities with us. We have geo caching over at cat tail cove where you hide that treasure and go find that treasure. We're teaching ethics, how to go out and do those kinds of activities and recreate in the wild and not hurt anything and not disturb the environment while you're doing it.

Jose Cardenas:
Can't say that geo caching is something I've done a lot of but it sounds interesting. Are you trying to appeal to a new and broader audience?

Ellen Bilbrey:
It's the same audience. 50 years ago when I read the history of Arizona State Parks the bill was signed in March 25, 1957. And it was exactly the same. The journalists were saying, we need a state park system. We need to go after this and have a state park system because we want people to go outdoors, recreate. All the same thing, camping, picnicking, everything you can imagine.

Jose Cardenas:
What kinds of activities are planned along those lines? The more traditional outdoor activities?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Any state park you go to whether over to Lake Havasu for our big chili festival, take your boats, water ski, take wave runners and spend the whole day out there maybe boat camping along the river, or we're going to have a big event coming up next month at Yuma State Park and Yuma Territorial Prison where we'll have all kinds of history of the 1800's and the crossing of the river. Why did people cross there for five centuries? Why is it that it's the first heritage district west of the Mississippi? So that's Yuma. People have not explored Yuma very much. They don't know very much about Yuma. But Yuma has a very rich history. So those are some of the types of things. Of course if you go to Tonto National Bridge you'll see the waterfalls and you're going to see the grottoes and you're going to experience the hiking. And there's Javelina running around the park all the time. Almost any place you explore in Arizona in these 30 state parks we've been able to acquire in the last 50 years you'll find something very unique. You're going to find the best of the natural resources, the best of the cultural resources of Arizona. March is archeology month and we have a big exhibition that's going to be happening down in Yuma.

Jose Cardenas:
How are you getting the word out to people so they know all these opportunities exist?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Well, you know, we're counting on everyone like eight to help us with this kind of message. But on our website, azstateparks.gov we're sending invitations to communities, mayors, sheriffs, every community that surrounds these state parks and inviting them to come and participate and learn about their state park and their community and why it's so important to their community from an economic development point of view, from a tourism point of view. Again the reason the parks were set up, economic development and tourism out in those rural areas.

Jose Cardenas:
As I understand it, the celebrations actually began last October?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Right. We started having a little bit by little bit and we'll go all the way through the end of this year. We're going to have activities going on. Usually twice a month on a Saturday is usually what we are doing. So there's plenty for everyone to go and see or do or find that's unique and different.

Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk again about the cave fest at Kartchner. First of all, how do you register for a tour?

Ellen Bilbrey:
All you have to do is call our line, 520-586-2283 which is our cave reservation line. Make a cave reservation for your family. Come on down. All day long we have things going on in the amphitheater. Everything is free in the theater. Gary Cannon, one of the discoverers is going to be there, signing big posters for people.

Jose Cardenas:
When will he be there?

Ellen Bilbrey:
He'll be there Saturday, all day Saturday. We're very excited. Many of the Kartchner family will come. They haven't been in the cave for ten years. They're all coming down to see it and see how we've developed. It we're very excited. Randy Tufts' family is going to be coming down, the other discoverer. They've all decided they want to come down and see what we've done in the cave and how we've protected it. So it will be quite an exciting day for everyone.

Jose Cardenas:
And how much will it cost?

Ellen Bilbrey:
It depends what you want to do. If you want to go on a cave tour it's 22.95 for the big room and 18.95 for the small room. If you want to go there for the day there's no cost.

Jose Cardenas:
You talked earlier in the green room about some really special exciting activities involving bats and different things that people can do.

Jose Cardenas:
Assuming they're not afraid of bats.

Ellen Bilbrey:
That's the whole thing. People are. And they don't even really know why bats are so important to our environment. And we're trying to teach people about bats and we're trying to catalog their sounds. We have one of the Beecher family is going to be there with her bats. Then she shows some of the bats. But she also tells us how she catalogs their sounds to figure out if it's a long-nosed bat or a cave miotis bat, she can actually tell from the sounds. This is the first time it's ever been done ever. So Kartchner is becoming a laboratory for all kinds of research. We have a national science foundation grant for $1 million with the University of Arizona. We're going to do a tremendous amount of research about all the little tiny microbes that are in the mud. Understand this mud has never been affected by humans. So they want to study the microbes that have no effect and find out what they are.

Jose Cardenas:
We've got another jewel of a park, Homalovi park.

Ellen Bilbrey:
That means a place of little hills. It's a Hopi word. We have a memorandum of understanding with the Hopi tribe. And we are developing tremendously interesting programming for them using podcasts and i-pods to listen to actual Hopi elders as you walk through that park. The park, the elders have agreed to work with us on doing some of these interviews. These are things people have never heard, stories, interesting history about the Hopi tribe.

Jose Cardenas:
We hope everybody will get out to enjoy the cave fest. Thanks for being on "Horizon."

Ellen Bilbrey:
Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas:
To watch video of tonight's programs, read transcripts or get information about upcoming stories please visit our website at azpbs.org.

Announcer:
The old saying is babies don't come with instruction manuals. But this may be the next best thing. Local hospitals are now distributing something called the Arizona parents kit for new parents. And on the night of a new PBS Special on the Supreme Court, Arizona's own Sandra Day O'Connor tells stories about her first day on the court Wednesday at 7:00 on "Horizon" on eight.

Jose Cardenas:
Thanks for joining us on this Tuesday evening. I'm José Cardenas. Good night. We'll see you tomorrow on "Horizon."

Photo Enforcement / Traffic Safety


  • DPS Highway Patrol Chief Jack Lane joins us to discuss traffic safety issues, including Governor Janet Napolitano’s suggestion that the photo radar on the Loop 101 in Scottsdale be expanded statewide.
Guests:
  • Jack Lane - Chief, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division
  • Ellen Bilbrey - Arizona State Parks


View Transcript
José Cárdenas:
Tonight on "Horizon", the photo speed enforcement project on the Loop 101 has been called "very successful". We talk about the program's impact on speeding and accidents and the potential for expanding the cameras to other highways in Arizona. Plus, Kartchner Caverns State Park gears up for its big "cave fest" celebration as Arizona State Parks commemorates fifty years of public recreation, education and natural beauty. Those stories coming up on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas, welcome to "Horizon." The hot topic of speed cameras on the Loop 101 freeway is going before the Scottsdale city council tonight. Council members will vote on reactivating the cameras. It was a pilot program to test the effectiveness of photo speed enforcement on area freeways. Scottsdale tested the program for nine months along a seven-mile stretch of the Loop 101 between Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. Speeding tickets generated $2.3 million. When the cameras were turned off, Scottsdale asked the state to take over the program. The Governor responded with support of photo enforcement, but urged Scottsdale to redeploy the system itself. More about photo enforcement in a moment, first, Merry Lucero looks at how the program affected the rate of collisions.

Merry Lucero:
The aftermath of a car crash: twisted metal, broken glass, and often shattered lives. This one, thankfully, is not a real crash, but a demonstration staged by the Phoenix Fire Department during a public safety event hosted by the Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Council.

Mike Sandulak:
The Phoenix Fire Department responded to almost 15,000 car wrecks last year. We responded to almost 800 this year. So we average about 40 car wrecks a day in the Valley, in the City of Phoenix alone. While we're here today, the Fire Department is going to do a little simulation of what it's like to be a restrained passenger, which we recommend everybody to wear their seatbelts, as opposed to a child or adult that's unrestrained, what could actually happen to them.

Merry Lucero:
State, local and federal agencies participated in the traffic safety event at the State Capitol. This recreation dramatized the horrible result of not wearing a seatbelt and the procedure of extricating a person who is trapped in a wrecked vehicle. Speed is often a contributing factor to crashes. That statement is supported by the photo speed enforcement's pilot program on the Scottsdale Loop 101 freeway. The study concluded the cameras made drivers reduce their speeds by nearly 10 miles per hour, which reduced the likelihood of some collisions by as much as 70\%. Specifically the frequency of sideswipes and injury crashes were reduced. Rear-end collisions, however, increased because drivers who follow too closely often did not stop in time when they saw the camera. But according to the study, overall crashes did decrease under the photo radar program.

José Cárdenas:
Joining me now to talk more about photo speed enforcement is chief Jack Lane of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division. Chief, welcome to "Horizon"

Jack Lane:
Thank you.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, in the intro, we talked about the $2.3 million that were generated by the photo enforcement program that Scottsdale had enforced. There nevertheless is a misperception that's really all this is about, the money. How do you respond to that?

Jack Lane:
Well, I can't speak for other jurisdictions, but with DPS, if we look at this type of technology we don't recoup any of the costs. Basically it's a citation our officer writes into the county court system. Then the counties utilize those funds to replenish the use for the courts, the prosecutors, the jails that we utilize. So with DPS, when we look at photo enforcement, if we implement those technologies or when we get around to implementing those technologies, it's strictly a public safety issue to us. Obviously it's going to take a certain amount of funds to pay for those resources. There's private vendors that supply those services. So we'd like to at least recoup the costs of that so that the people that are violating that law are basically paying for the system that's going to help slow down those drivers and make it a safer highway for the public.

José Cárdenas:
Now, if the Scottsdale City Council goes forward and does vote to redeploy, what all is involved in that? How quickly could that happen?

Jack Lane:
My understanding is that the systems they have are in place. They haven't removed the cameras. Basically the cameras were put into a "stand by mode" as part of the study. They were still gathering data of the vehicles travelling through that area. The difference being they weren't actually issuing citation at that point. My understanding is it's pretty simplistic for them to get their cameras back in operations through their Police Department, traffic administrators, court administrators. They already have those systems in place. It should be pretty quick if they decide to do so?

José Cárdenas:
So redeployment would be pretty quick, but what about if the state takes over, DPS gets involved? How difficult of a process is it? How long would it take?

Jack Lane: It's-- We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We've already put a team together. We want to base any technology like this that we're going to put out there on good, sound statistical data, and put that technology in places where it's going to have an impact on public safety. So we've got some starting points. The starting points is taking some of the data from the Scottsdale project, and meeting with the experts and the consultants that worked with them and trying to develop data on how would we deploy the same type of technologies not just in that Scottsdale corridor, but other corridors in the Valley and throughout the state, where it's going to have the best impact on lowering traffic speeds and making it safer out there for the public.

José Cárdenas:
Now, if the redeployment goes forward, as I understand it, we're talking about June would be the extension of that. Will the state be ready in June to take over?

Jack Lane:
You know, I think it's too early to say. I think we could possibly have some systems in place to begin some small operations around that time. But through procurement laws, we have a lot of work to do in writing requests for proposal, because we'll have to utilize private vendors on this, and we'd have to look at how's the system going to be paid for. We're working really closely. We've already begun meetings with our county partners, and on how the courts would handle the additional workload with this type of project. So before we ever flip the switch, as you say, we want to make sure all the systems are ready to handle that type of a workload, and that it's put together in a good method. We've got a potential for developing a model for the rest of the nation here, and I think that it's important that we go about it in a methodical fashion and do it the right way, based on good statistical data.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, it sounds like quite an undertaking to get this going, at least on a broader basis than it's currently employed. Is there any question as to whether the benefits of this system outweigh these costs?

Jack Lane:
I think that's why we have to move slowly on this. I think it's important that we've got to, in those places where we start utilizing the technologies, we continue to follow that. We just don't place the technology out there and then see what it does. I think we have to follow up with additional studies and make sure it is having an impact on the roadway safety. If it's doing that, ideally if the system works the way it's supposed to, it's going to generate little revenue for whoever receives that revenue, because it will lower those speeds and it will change behaviors on the drivers out there.

José Cárdenas:
What about the study done to date on Scottsdale's system in terms of safety? There seem to be some contradictory conclusions regarding collisions, for example.

Jack Lane:
Well, it appeared to show that it did lower some collisions and it lowered the severity of some collisions. As you earlier reported, there was an increase in rear-end collisions. I'm not really sure what that is tied to. It's my understanding that there's some discussion that possibly people are coming into those zones they know are photo enforcement involved, and then maybe they're starting to slow down pretty quickly. And that's causing other vehicles to rear end them. The good news is definitely lowered the severity of those collisions. So we hope that that statistical data will help us in developing our program.

José Cárdenas:
Now, there are some things that technology can't control. You've got population growth, which means more freeways. At what point does it not become cost effective, or do you think there's always some benefit to be obtained by photo enforcement?

Jack Lane:
I think if you gain any benefit of making the road way safer, you save any type of lives by slowing some of the speeds down, you're always going to have a benefit. That's the bottom line. It's expensive to train and equip and put patrol officers out there, and it's time consuming. And photo enforcement, by no means, would ever replace an officer. But that expense, that benefit of putting that officer out there, contributes to the public safety. So I think we have to look at how we can utilize these technologies to enhance our officer's ability to enhance the safety on the roadways.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, last legislative session, there were various legislative proposals to deal with photo enforcement, various issues. What can you tell us about that and what we can expect this legislative session?

Jack Lane:
Well, I think last session, there were some bills that some legislators were seeking to basically make photo enforcement on any freeway system unlawful. I'm not aware of any this year that are taking place. There's at least two bills that I'm aware of involving photo enforcement. One involves where would the revenues go. I believe one of our legislators saying let's take any profit revenues or whatever the correct terminology is, and take those and put them back into law enforcement so we can book more officers out there, utilize those resources, put more of the funds into our state crime lab systems, so we can really expand those. There's some critical needs there. So that's a policymaker decision and our 90 legislators obviously have their hands full in putting together those type of policies. Whatever the outcome of that, we'll make whatever adjustments we need to. We think this is a potential for or a tool in our officer's tool box. So hopefully they'll lend us support along that line.

José Cárdenas:
What about concerns that using photo enforcement systems is an invasion of civil liberties, a concern about Big Brotherism?

Jack Lane:
You know, I don't think that should be a concern. Our purpose in the photo enforcement, again, is to change driver's behaviors and slow those speeds down. We're not tracking people where they're at, where they're going. That's not a concern to us. Our concern is to get those speeds lowered out there and have an impact on public safety. So I think that's misplaced concern at best.

José Cárdenas:
As I understand it, one of the concerns under the Scottsdale system, at least at one point, was the fact that system was also catching -- not catching is probably not right word, but police officers themselves, DPS officers were being flashed as they went through. Tell us about that, and how you dealt with it.

Jack Lane:
Well, we've had a very good system in place with the City of Scottsdale. Obviously for our officers to go out there and do the job they're going to have to exceed the speed limits. They're responding to emergencies, where there's people that are seriously injured. They're responding to emergencies where there might be a felony taking place. They basically have to accelerate their speeds beyond what a violator is performing in order to catch that violator, and they were getting flashed with the cameras. We have a good system in place where we receive all those from the vendor. We take each of those on a case-by-case basis, and look into the circumstances of what that officer was doing to make sure he was acting within policy and within the law. I mean, we shouldn't be -- we shouldn't be exempt from making sure that our officers are doing what they're supposed to. We do have concerns that sometimes that technology may have an effect of causing officers to migrate away from those areas because there has been some media outlets that plastered their pictures on the front of the paper, and we don't want that to happen. So that's why we stand tall, we look into each circumstance, we have workable policies for our officers obviously that have to exceed those speed limits, and we're going to stand behind our officers when they're out there trying to do their job.

José Cárdenas:
Chief, we're about out time, but quickly, what's the status of primary seat belt law enforcement? Any proposals?

Jack Lane:
I'm glad you asked. There will be another bill this year in the legislature, it's already been introduced. Very strong advocates of getting a primary seat belt law. We know -- obviously, we have a secondary, which means that we have to have another violation before we can stop and also cite for the seatbelt violation. The primary seat belt laws will encourage more use of the seat belts, gives us an opportunity to really educate the public even more on the side of the road, if need be, through a warning and sometimes a citation of wearing that seat belt because we know it does save lives.

José Cárdenas:
Chief Jack Lane, Arizona Department of Highway Safety, thanks for join us on the "Horizon".

Jack Lane:
Thank you

José Cárdenas:
Arizona State Parks is planning a day brimming with cave mysteries for families to experience together this weekend at Kartchner Caverns State Park. It is part of a host of events put on by state parks to commemorate its 50th anniversary. In a moment we'll talk more about a wide range of events and celebrations, and we'll have some beautiful video to show you of some of those parks. First, here's a look at a brief history of another Arizona treasure: Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, in the southern part of the state.

Reporter:
Just east of I-19 between Tucson and Nogales lies the town of Tubac. Tubac was once a Spanish Presidio, Arizona's first European settlement. It was a Confederate outpost, the home of Charles Poston, the father of Arizona and even produced Arizona's first newspaper. Tubac has been abandoned and come back to life so many times it has been called the city with nine lives. In the 1950's, it seemed once again to be slipping into on security. -- obscurity. Yet today it is the home of Arizona's first state park and a thriving artist community.

Jose Cardenas:
Joining us now with more on the state park's 50th anniversary is Ellen Bilbrey of Arizona State Parks. Ellen thanks for joining us on "Horizon." Let's talk about the 50th anniversary celebrations and begin with the oldest state park, Tubac.

Ellen Bilbrey:
You just saw a beautiful piece on that. And I think that 1700 when Juan Batista came up from Mexico and founded the presidio here and then in San Francisco it's a very rich place for people to go visit and learn about.

Jose Cardenas:
We were talking a little bit off camera about that trip. There were some interesting statistics I think tie into the safety aspects we were discussing earlier.

Ellen Bilbrey:
You go all the way across the country with 276 immigrants and cows and horses and all kinds of things, only one person died. It was a woman in childbirth on that whole trek over months and months and months through the deserts, all the way through California and up to northern California to San Francisco. I think it's pretty interesting.

Jose Cardenas:
So travel was a little bit safer.

Ellen Bilbrey:
It was safer then.

Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk about some of the other events that are planned as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

Ellen Bilbrey:
This weekend is a really big event, the cave fest at Kartchner Caverns State Park. We have a series of activities going on all day. We have a movie of our sister cave in Italy which is also being protected and developed in the same way as Kartchner Caverns.

Jose Cardenas:
We have beautiful video on screen right now.

Ellen Bilbrey:
Yes. You can see this stalactites coming down from the ceiling there. The whole inside of the cave is being protected for its eco-system with the little bugs in the soil and in the guano produced by the bats. It all has developed inside. In the summer we shut down the caves and not allow anyone to go in there because -- in the big room because the bats are in there and they're having their babies in there.

Jose Cardenas:
You talked about a sister cave in Italy?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Yes. It's a very beautiful cave, much bigger than Kartchner Caverns. But they are following a lot of what we're doing at Kartchner Caverns because they're developing the same cave only it's much bigger than ours. That's all.

Jose Cardenas:
I want to come back in a little bit to some of the specifics regarding the Kartchner Caverns cave fest. But what other kinds of things are you doing to celebrate the 50th anniversary? I understand we have some mariachi festivals and art shows.

Ellen Bilbrey:
Amazing things. We have artists coming out to a lot of the parks, a whole series of painting opportunities. If you're an artist you need to come out and spend some of the outdoor painting opportunities with us. We have geo caching over at cat tail cove where you hide that treasure and go find that treasure. We're teaching ethics, how to go out and do those kinds of activities and recreate in the wild and not hurt anything and not disturb the environment while you're doing it.

Jose Cardenas:
Can't say that geo caching is something I've done a lot of but it sounds interesting. Are you trying to appeal to a new and broader audience?

Ellen Bilbrey:
It's the same audience. 50 years ago when I read the history of Arizona State Parks the bill was signed in March 25, 1957. And it was exactly the same. The journalists were saying, we need a state park system. We need to go after this and have a state park system because we want people to go outdoors, recreate. All the same thing, camping, picnicking, everything you can imagine.

Jose Cardenas:
What kinds of activities are planned along those lines? The more traditional outdoor activities?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Any state park you go to whether over to Lake Havasu for our big chili festival, take your boats, water ski, take wave runners and spend the whole day out there maybe boat camping along the river, or we're going to have a big event coming up next month at Yuma State Park and Yuma Territorial Prison where we'll have all kinds of history of the 1800's and the crossing of the river. Why did people cross there for five centuries? Why is it that it's the first heritage district west of the Mississippi? So that's Yuma. People have not explored Yuma very much. They don't know very much about Yuma. But Yuma has a very rich history. So those are some of the types of things. Of course if you go to Tonto National Bridge you'll see the waterfalls and you're going to see the grottoes and you're going to experience the hiking. And there's Javelina running around the park all the time. Almost any place you explore in Arizona in these 30 state parks we've been able to acquire in the last 50 years you'll find something very unique. You're going to find the best of the natural resources, the best of the cultural resources of Arizona. March is archeology month and we have a big exhibition that's going to be happening down in Yuma.

Jose Cardenas:
How are you getting the word out to people so they know all these opportunities exist?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Well, you know, we're counting on everyone like eight to help us with this kind of message. But on our website, azstateparks.gov we're sending invitations to communities, mayors, sheriffs, every community that surrounds these state parks and inviting them to come and participate and learn about their state park and their community and why it's so important to their community from an economic development point of view, from a tourism point of view. Again the reason the parks were set up, economic development and tourism out in those rural areas.

Jose Cardenas:
As I understand it, the celebrations actually began last October?

Ellen Bilbrey:
Right. We started having a little bit by little bit and we'll go all the way through the end of this year. We're going to have activities going on. Usually twice a month on a Saturday is usually what we are doing. So there's plenty for everyone to go and see or do or find that's unique and different.

Jose Cardenas:
Let's talk again about the cave fest at Kartchner. First of all, how do you register for a tour?

Ellen Bilbrey:
All you have to do is call our line, 520-586-2283 which is our cave reservation line. Make a cave reservation for your family. Come on down. All day long we have things going on in the amphitheater. Everything is free in the theater. Gary Cannon, one of the discoverers is going to be there, signing big posters for people.

Jose Cardenas:
When will he be there?

Ellen Bilbrey:
He'll be there Saturday, all day Saturday. We're very excited. Many of the Kartchner family will come. They haven't been in the cave for ten years. They're all coming down to see it and see how we've developed. It we're very excited. Randy Tufts' family is going to be coming down, the other discoverer. They've all decided they want to come down and see what we've done in the cave and how we've protected it. So it will be quite an exciting day for everyone.

Jose Cardenas:
And how much will it cost?

Ellen Bilbrey:
It depends what you want to do. If you want to go on a cave tour it's 22.95 for the big room and 18.95 for the small room. If you want to go there for the day there's no cost.

Jose Cardenas:
You talked earlier in the green room about some really special exciting activities involving bats and different things that people can do.

Jose Cardenas:
Assuming they're not afraid of bats.

Ellen Bilbrey:
That's the whole thing. People are. And they don't even really know why bats are so important to our environment. And we're trying to teach people about bats and we're trying to catalog their sounds. We have one of the Beecher family is going to be there with her bats. Then she shows some of the bats. But she also tells us how she catalogs their sounds to figure out if it's a long-nosed bat or a cave miotis bat, she can actually tell from the sounds. This is the first time it's ever been done ever. So Kartchner is becoming a laboratory for all kinds of research. We have a national science foundation grant for $1 million with the University of Arizona. We're going to do a tremendous amount of research about all the little tiny microbes that are in the mud. Understand this mud has never been affected by humans. So they want to study the microbes that have no effect and find out what they are.

Jose Cardenas:
We've got another jewel of a park, Homalovi park.

Ellen Bilbrey:
That means a place of little hills. It's a Hopi word. We have a memorandum of understanding with the Hopi tribe. And we are developing tremendously interesting programming for them using podcasts and i-pods to listen to actual Hopi elders as you walk through that park. The park, the elders have agreed to work with us on doing some of these interviews. These are things people have never heard, stories, interesting history about the Hopi tribe.

Jose Cardenas:
We hope everybody will get out to enjoy the cave fest. Thanks for being on "Horizon."

Ellen Bilbrey:
Thank you very much.

Jose Cardenas:
To watch video of tonight's programs, read transcripts or get information about upcoming stories please visit our website at azpbs.org.

Announcer:
The old saying is babies don't come with instruction manuals. But this may be the next best thing. Local hospitals are now distributing something called the Arizona parents kit for new parents. And on the night of a new PBS Special on the Supreme Court, Arizona's own Sandra Day O'Connor tells stories about her first day on the court Wednesday at 7:00 on "Horizon" on eight.

Jose Cardenas:
Thanks for joining us on this Tuesday evening. I'm José Cardenas. Good night. We'll see you tomorrow on "Horizon."

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