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Citizens raise concerns at Council traffic camera meeting

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:19 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - From safety concerns to the credibility of the company providing the equipment, all citizens who spoke at Toledo City Council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Reform committee meeting concerning the reinstatement of red light and speeding cameras were against the program.

Thursday afternoon’s meeting guided Toledoans and council members through the revamped traffic camera program in a slideshow presentation from Gretchen Debacher, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’s Legislative Director.

The Ohio Supreme Court effectively ended the first program in June of this year, ruling that the appeals process was invalid.

The Supreme Court ruled traffic violations like that needed an appeal process from a Municipal Court and that’s where Toledo ticket appeals will be heard. Also new from this revised program, there will be fewer handheld camera patrols.

The citations will stay at $120 but you’ll have more chances to get one because the city plans to add 10 more stationary camera locations. The spots will be determined by Toledo Police.

Many citizens were concerned about the amount of the ticket, which the city explained it will now offer a payment plan to offenders.

So if you receive a ticket in the mail, you can pay $25 to go towards the full payment of the citation while getting a 90-day extension on the due date each time.

Another popular topic brought to attention by multiple citizens attending the meeting was the credibility of the company Redflex, which would be the vendor of the red-light cameras in the city’s new amended program.

Back in 2016, the former CEO of Redflex was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and over $2 million in restitution for paying bribes to a city official to help procure the contracts for the red-light cameras in Chicago, Illinois.

Citizens brought up the federal charges currently faced by four former Toledo City Council members, and their distrust in a company with similar history regarding elected officials.

A few council members, including Rob Ludeman, voiced their thoughts on the new program.

“Law-abiding folks are not going to join this meeting,” said Ludeman. “They’re happy with driving the speed limit, they’re not going to speed. I do wonder how many folks who came on today have received tickets from Redflex in the past and just have an axe to grind.”

The comment quickly received backlash from citizens in attendance who opposed the program but certainly didn’t consider themselves criminals.

“On my behalf, I will take everything into consideration,” said Councilmember Cerssandra McPhearson. “I will also go back and look at the presentation and govern myself accordingly.”

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 1st.

The current target date for the new program to start is April 1st, 2021.

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