ALTAVISTA, Va. (WFXR) — After more than 700 citations were issued in less than a month due to speeding cameras between two Altavista schools, police decided to take a step back and find a way to fix the problems with the current program.

Back in November, the Altavista Police Department says the town entered into a contract with Altumint to set up speed zone cameras in the town’s school zones.

“This is a new program and is the first one of its kind in the state of Virginia, as HB1442 was approved in 2020,” Altavista Police Chief Thomas Merricks said in a statement on Thursday, July 21. “Upon undertaking a project like this, we knew that there would be lessons learned.”

Following prior warning periods, authorities tell WFXR News that the speeding cameras were activated from June 6 through July 1 — while summer school was in session — and resulted in a “concerning” 731 citations being issued during that period.

Officials say they took a step back, looked at the program, listened to community feedback, and identified several issues they thought needed to be fixed. Now, police are taking action to correct those problems.

As a precaution, the department says the Town of Altavista and Altumint decided that any citations issued during the summer school term will be voided for those who did not pay them. If you already paid the citation(s) you received from that period and need a refund, Altumint will process it within five to 10 business days.

According to police, their goal is to make any necessary modifications to the program by the start of school this year — which is Aug. 16 — but they will not resume the program until all those changes are done.

“We will keep the public informed as to when enforcement will start. The purpose of our program is to slow traffic in the school zones. We feel that this time has been a learning period for not only us but the public as well,” Merricks said. “Awareness of the issue of speeding in school zones has been raised. We appreciate the constructive feedback from the community, and we have listened. By working together, we hope to make the safety of our students, teachers and motorists top priority.”