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Columbia City Council Approves Red Light Camera Vendor; Oversight and Openness Suggested

August 22nd, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

Show Me Blog: (Not to be confused with the Show-Me-Institute blog)

Early on the morning of August 21st, I attended the Columbia city council meeting to speak to the red light camera vendor that the city was proposing to contract with to monitor 16 intersection approaches. Some time back, the council had previously approved an ordinance to allow red light cameras as a traffic control device. I was the only person to speak and asked the following questions:

1. I asked if the $28.50 awarded to Lasercraft per ticket comes out of the existing fine structure or if it would be on top of the existing fine; it will come from the existing fine.

2. I asked that timeliness of the ticket delivered to the owner of the violating vehicle be as quick as possible. I don’t know how practical that will be since Lasercraft first has to review the ticket, then send it to someone at the Columbia Police Department, who would then send it to the city prosecutor.

3. Without Chief Boehm in attendance, this point will have to be brought up in another venue, but hopefully it made a council member or two think about it. The Lasercraft system has an ability to monitor the cameras in live streaming mode. Lasercraft suggests tight control on that particular access. I asked if the CPD would have any policies and procedures to determine who can view those live feeds to ensure that they are available when needed (i.e. looking for a getaway car from a robbery) as opposed to someone just watching the cameras for entertainment or curiousity’s sake. I think more openness and transparency in the process may make people more accepting of the system (this also ties into item 5 below). Read more…

Related

David Stokes: “Finally, Some Push-Back on Red Light Cameras!”

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  • 1 Jim Byrne // Aug 22, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I ran into an elderly gentleman at Walgreens the other day. He had received a ticket in Arnold, MO for running a red light during a funeral procession.

    Thankfully the Arnold Police Dept told him that they would take care of it. Would they have been so cooperative with a younger person? Can these cameras be set to not issue a ticket during a funeral procession?

  • 2 John Schultz // Aug 23, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Jim, I’m the author of the above piece. I don’t recall where I read it, but Lasercraft (the maker of the system to be installed in Columbia) said they would exclude funeral processions and emergency vehicles from those potential tickets they would then forward to the Columbia Police Department. I’m not certain they can do this with 100% accuracy depending on the circumstances (how long the procession is, does the video recording of the violation extend far enough back in time to see the start of the procession, etc.), but would expect that to be a valid defense when arguing a red light camera ticket. Unfortunately, who knows how long it would take for such a ticket to wind through the vendor, the police, and the prosecutor to a citizen, who then has to remember the circumstances of a day in the past?

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