CITY COUNCIL Traffic cameras get green light

The acting police chief said he supports using the video cameras for traffic patrol.
GIRARD -- City council is moving forward with plans to use video cameras to augment traffic patrol in the downtown area.
After listening to an hour-long presentation by Allen Shutt, president of Trafficpax, of Columbia, Md., council approved first reading of an ordinance authorizing the use of an automated traffic enforcement system. The ordinance must pass two more readings before it takes effect.
"The video cameras will help with the safety issue," said Councilman Frank Migliozzi. "We have a lot of speeding on 422 in our downtown area, and this can help us. I would prefer more police patrol, but that is just not feasible."
Acting Police Chief John Villecco concurred, saying there is not enough officers to do adequate road patrols.
"When Trafficpax was showing us how the equipment worked, they set it up, and in 10 minutes we found 27 people speeding," Villecco said.
The video cameras will be set to nab speeders and those who go through red lights, Shutt said.
Cost of cameras
Council members stressed that the program will not cost the city any money.
Trafficpax leases the equipment to the city for a percentage of the fines the city gets for traffic violations, Shutt said.
Mayor James Melfi said the city has not decided what percentage will be paid to Trafficpax. The city also will have to determine the fines violators will pay.
Shutt said the video camera records vehicles at and near traffic lights. There also will be sensors placed at the intersection that are connected to the video camera that will monitor the traffic flow and traffic signal.
"When the signal turns red, the camera system activates, and it will take pictures of any vehicle that goes through the light," Shutt said.
Shutt also explained that his company will then review the tapes to determine whether any traffic violations took place.
"If we find any violations, we forward those to the police department and then the police officials make the final decision of who receives a citation," Shutt said.
Council members said if the city decides to use the video equipment they would put a sign outside the city limits alerting motorists that they could be videotaped.
In other matters, council passed a resolution commending the Girard Lady Indians basketball team for its undefeated season. The members of the team and the coaches attended the meeting to receive the resolution.

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