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Harkins appointed
Red light ‘Czar’ to initially work ‘off duty’ hours


Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen appointed Knox County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Ben Harkins as photo enforcement manager for red-light cameras at its meeting, Thursday, Aug. 13.

“Until Capt. Harkins retires [from KCSO] in December of this year, he’s going to take care of this in an off-duty capacity from the Sheriff’s Office,” Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

During that time, his future contract will be negotiated, particularly focusing on whether Harkins will be employed as an independent contractor or a full-time employee of the Town.

Harkins will begin work before the cameras are up-and-running to manage the system and get it ready for implementation.

“We are knee-deep in getting everything finalized and it is critical Capt. Harkins is involved in that process,” Palmer said.

Vice Mayor Dot LaMarche said the Town was very fortunate to have Harkins as Town liaison and the first to serve as photo enforcement manager.

“He’s done a wonderful job in Farragut. I feel very good about this position and the fact he’s going to be the first one to take on this job,” LaMarche said.

In related business, the Board:

• Approved, on second reading, an ordinance to amend Farragut Municipal Code to include “Automated Red Light Enforcement.”

• Approved a Redflex contract addendum to allow loop sensors instead of flush mounted, or so-called “Klondike bar,” sensors.

“When we went through this contract process, these FMS, or Klondike bar style sensors, were marketed to us as the next greatest thing since sliced bread,” Interim Town Administrator Gary Palmer said.

FMS sensors are the size of Klondike bars and connect wirelessly to the cameras. The FMS sensors would have been simply drilled into the ground. Although the FMS sensors are less invasive than the loops, they apparently don’t work.

“Turns out they’re not as great as we’ve been told they would be,” Palmer said.

“They really do act more like a real Klondike bar,” Town Engineer Darryl Smith said.

The change to loops cost the Town nothing; Redflex installs the equipment at no cost to the Town.

 

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