Galveston Police have issued 1,770 tickets and towed over 400 vehicles during the first week of paid parking along the Galveston Seawall. At that rate, the fines and fees paid to the city by motorists and towing companies will add a much-needed $4.5 million to city revenues during the next year.
Most of the money generated by the parking plan is earmarked for increased safety and security along the Seawall. It is hoped that the huge increase in funds will allow for the hiring of additional police officers and the purchase of unmanned aerial and underwater drones that will provide local police with full surveillance along the beaches.
“People like cops at the beach. They want to see a strong police presence there,” says Chet Porker, editor of the Police Gazette. “That’s why Baywatch and Miami Vice were so popular. Cops and the beach just go together. Most tourists are going to be very happy to see the new security measures here.”
Those new measures start at the top of the Causeway Bridge leading into Galveston.
At the apex of the bridge, a high resolution camera photographs the license plates of every vehicle entering and leaving the island. This information is instantly transmitted to a computer program which identifies the owner of the vehicle, whether the vehicles insurance and registration are up to date, whether there are any warrants or unpaid fines, and the complete arrest record of the presumed driver. Since the camera system went online in late June, 217 arrests have been made as a direct result of the bridge cameras.
City officials are thrilled with the results.