Red Light Cameras Still Taking Pictures After Suspension

6 years 6 months 1 day ago Monday, February 10 2014 Feb 10, 2014 Monday, February 10, 2014 3:50:00 PM CST February 10, 2014 in News
By: Alyssa Caruso, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Red light cameras in Columbia continue to capture and store images of drivers running red lights despite the suspension of red light camera prosecution in early November.

Columbia city prosecutor Stephen Richey said the city decided to suspend prosecution on November 7 because the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals ruled that city of Ellisville's red light camera program was invalid because it considered the violations to be "non-moving," even though drivers were in motion when recorded, and because the law assessed "points" to the car in violation, even though Missouri assesses points against drivers. Richey said Columbia's ordinance had similar legal issues.

"The new ruling says you can't assess points against a car. You need to assess points against a driver. And our ordinance mirrored that so we decided we better suspend that until we get clarity from the courts," Richey said.

But Richey said it makes sense that the cameras continue to capture and store images of red light runners.

"If the law is found to be valid, then we can go back and issue all of those tickets for violations," Richey said. He said because the type of violation, it is legal for officers to issue tickets for red light violators up to a year after it occurs.

But until the Missouri Supreme Court decides to take up the red light camera case, Columbia and other cities can only wait. In the mean time, Columbia is faced with piling costs from suspending the system. The city refunded about 25 to 30 red light camera tickets paid by violators after the November 5 court ruling. That cost the city more than $3,000 dollars.

City Manager Mike Matthes said that money came from the city's general fund. It's a big change compared to the amount of money that contributed to the fund in previous months. In September alone, red light camera tickets contributed more than $9,000 to the city's general fund. But the city has received no revenue for the fund from red light camera tickets since the suspension.

Matthes said the loss of revenue is not detrimental.

"It's not making money and that's not what it's intended to do. Now we feel the loss of it in the general fund, but we don't depend on that funding for anything," Matthes said.

Gatso, the company that installed the cameras in Columbia, continues to capture and store the images of violators, but makes no profit during the suspension as well. Usually $44 from each red light camera fine goes to the company. City officials said the city is nearing the end of its contract with the company and will need to re-evaluate plans to continue camera use.

"When we get a really good understanding of what the law will mean, moving forward we will have to decide whether we will leave the cameras up there or just call Gatso and have them take their equipment back," Matthes said.

Money is a small factor of the red light camera debate for some in Columbia. Sergeant Curtis Perkins said the suspension of the cameras impacted officers' attempts to enforce red light safety.

"The Columbia Police Department traffic unit has paid more attention to the areas where some of the red light cameras are, to try look for violations that may be going on," Perkins said. "With the cameras there, it was a lot easier to do enforcement. With an officer there, even when the violation is committed, the officer has to worry about other traffic to safely go after the violator."

Perkins said officers cannot be everywhere to monitor red light runners which adds to the difficulty. Officers themselves have issued 32 tickets since suspending the cameras. By comparison, the cameras issued a total of 203 tickets in the month of September.

City officials said the wait for a decision is not easy.

"It's hard to wait, but generally time improves decisions," Matthes said. "It really is about public safety and what we've learned is they really do massively reduce the amount of traffic accidents and deaths that occur. So we know they work and our hope is that we can continue to use them."

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Although standardized testing will not be a requirement for admission to the UM System this year, some local... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 7:02:00 PM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — After a Board of Education meeting earlier this week, Columbia Public Schools will still give families the choice... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 6:45:14 PM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. This... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Police have arrested 39-year old Justin Spence, of Columbia, in connection with a burglary that occurred early Tuesday... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 2:08:00 PM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — The Boone County Commission approved $1.8 million in federal coronavirus relief money (CARES Act) for the health department... More >>
14 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 1:54:00 PM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 11:08:00 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Water supply district number 1 is under a precautionary boil advisory because of low water pressure. There... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 11:04:04 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
Editor's note: This op-ed is a collaboration between the mental health doctors in the United States from the National Network... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 9:39:57 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - After school programs have to make adjustments because of the Columbia school board’s vote to delay the start... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, August 12 2020 Aug 12, 2020 Wednesday, August 12, 2020 3:31:00 AM CDT August 12, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Monday crash in Jefferson City damaged three parked vehicles and injured the driver. Curtis Murrell... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 8:18:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 confirmed on the scene of the incident a man was shot on Tuesday at the Columbia... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 7:22:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia mayor Brian Treece called on college students to make smart choices when returning to campus. "I... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:58:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou superfan Brian Garner has accumulated hundreds of coaches and players' signatures on his prosthetic leg. He hasn't... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:45:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The news conference is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m., according to Trump. More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:26:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Public school administrators discussed, Tuesday afternoon, the district's reopening plans, as student prepare for the start of... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 4:16:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — In a new briefing Tuesday afternoon, Columbia police asked the public for information on two separate early-morning incidents.... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:53:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The parking lot at Tolton Catholic High School will fill up two weeks before Columbia Public Schools. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:49:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- [Breaking news update, published at 4:40 p.m. ET] The Pac-12 Conference CEO Group unanimously voted Tuesday to... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, August 11 2020 Aug 11, 2020 Tuesday, August 11, 2020 3:34:00 PM CDT August 11, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
5am 71°
6am 71°
7am 71°
8am 74°