Council to vote on traffic cameras

By Ashley Luthern


City council is expected to vote Wednesday to hire a company to install traffic cameras in school zones.

Councilman John R. Swierz, 7th Ward, is one of the ordinance’s sponsors and said Redflex Traffic Systems of Phoenix will receive the contract. City officials also heard proposals from American Traffic Solutions of Tempe, Ariz., and B&W Sensors LLC of St. Louis.

The company’s fee will be paid solely out of traffic fines charged to those caught on camera violating traffic laws, he said. An exact amount has not been specified.

“There will be some other costs associated with this because we’ll probably have to hire a clerk, someone to review the pictures in case there’s challenges, and we don’t know what that cost will be because we don’t know how many tickets we’re going to give out,” Swierz said.

That individual’s salary would come out of the proceeds of the camera-related traffic fines, he said.

The cameras will be placed in school zones, and Swierz said council has “no intention at this time to expand it beyond the school zones.”

He said the cameras are intended to deter speeding and make up for reduced staffing in the traffic division.

“There will be those people who think it’s another way for city to make money. We hope we don’t make any money. It’s to change behavior,” he said.

The cameras also could be used to investigate other crimes, Swierz said, such as several fights that took place near city schools this year.

Mayor Charles Sammarone said he supports the cameras based on the recommendations from police Chief Rod Foley and the council safety committee.

“I listen to the expert on this, and that’s [Foley] who deals with safety,” Sammarone said.

Swierz said the cameras will be installed two to four months after the contract is signed.

After the cameras are operating, drivers will have a 30-day grace period, and the camera locations will be listed on the police department’s website, he said.

“We’re not trying to hoodwink anyone,” Swierz said.

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