Red Light Cameras Still Taking Pictures After Suspension

4 years 8 months 1 week 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
BOONVILLE - The uncle of the Columbia native who died in a car crash late Saturday night described his nephew... More >>
55 minutes ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Three air conditioning units were stolen from Discovery Church in Northeast Columbia Tuesday night. The pastor of the... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 6:01:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Parson appointed the new director of the Missouri Medicaid program, filling a permanent position after 22... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 5:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Renee Hoagenson and Vicky Hartzler are running against each other for a seat in the House of Representatives.... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A poster display regarding sexual orientation and gender identity at Gentry Middle School received mixed reviews from parents... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 4:06:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou forward Jontay Porter will miss the entire 2018-19 basketball season after tearing both the ACL and MCL... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:40:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A downtown Columbia restaurant discontinued an Election Day incentive after realizing it could be violating voter laws. ... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:39:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
O'FALLON (AP) — A suburban St. Louis man who has served as a Cub Scout den leader has been charged... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The United Nations' drug strategy of the past 10 years has been a failure, according to a major... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 2:17:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed charges Monday against the driver of a car which crashed late Saturday, killing one person. ... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 12:49:00 PM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The Missouri Republican Party says a miscommunication caused 10,000 voters in the state to receive mailers... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 10:31:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has allowed an injunction to remain in place against part of... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 9:44:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police say one person died and three people were injured when an off-duty Kansas City police... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:48:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Three black trailblazers at the University of Missouri have been honored on the Columbia campus. The... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 7:36:12 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA -The next Mega Millions drawing will take place the night of Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. central time. ... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, October 22 2018 Oct 22, 2018 Monday, October 22, 2018 3:57:00 AM CDT October 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's 107th Homecoming has come and gone, but left behind a lot of clean up.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
HERMANN - Neighbors in the town of Hermann, Missouri are still grieving after a fatal accident involving a trolley killed... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:01:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri men’s basketball program suffered a crushing blow Sunday night when it was announced that sophomore power... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 21 2018 Oct 21, 2018 Sunday, October 21, 2018 7:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2018 in Sports
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 57°
11pm 53°
12am 51°
1am 49°
2am 48°