How Would You Like To See Red Light/Speed Cameras Used In Enforcement?

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This link,, has an interesting topic on the red light cameras. According to Maggie Thurber,, there will be a meeting on January 12, 2009 (the location yet to be determined) to begin work on a charter amendment to change the way the speed/red-light cameras are allowed to be used.

I was curious to see what people thought of the issue. Myself, I do not really have a problem with their use, although I can see the concerns of others about their use. It might be better to use them along with a human agent. However, if we are going to do that might it be worth our while to have the company we now have remove their cameras, and install our own, and bypass their “services” (which seem quite expensive). Perhaps we should have a local company involved in this. Since many of us are for privatization of city services is this something we could look into. I wonder if the city could contract this out to a local corporation (such as those that provide guards), and would these “rent-a-cops” still have the law enforcement powers to detain scofflaws at intersections? The cost of our current law enforcement at these intersections would seem to be quite prohibitive, but a private cop with a digital camera might be less so. In addition, we would probably need 24-hour coverage and coverage for the weekends, holidays, sick days, and vacations. Moreover, we might want to give these officers shorter periods of duty. I remember in the army we had two hours on, and one hour off while on guard. That allowed us to stay alert (which probably would not be something that scofflaws want).

Old South End Broadway

...behavior? Instead of taxation we should use the libertarian approach of fines against the scofflaws. Allow the city government the right to contract out law enforcement to those willing to work on a case-by-case basis. No waiting for police classes, and it would provide employment for hundreds of people out of work. I bet behavior would change in a day. The more traffic cheats they catch the more money they would make. If we wanted to help our local economy, and reduce traffic law violations we could contract this work out to individuals. If we wanted to get the cash up front we could set a fee for each intersection, and the enforcement officer would profit from any money he pulled in above that. We might even have an auction for the most lucrative intersections (in terms of scofflaws per shift). The citizen would still have the right to contest the ticket, but the officer would have the same standing as a Toledo patrolman has now. We might even short circuit the process if the citizen was willing to pay his/her fine and be on their way. And they would have their word as a law enforcement officer, and the record from their trusty digital camera to back that up. Of course, if things worked correctly, they would work themselves out of a job. Hopefully, by then, we would be out of this recession, and there would be other work (and sources of revenue) available.

Old South End Broadway

I've seen that comment here and on another board and I just don't get it. Do you think it's libertarian to privatize a police state? If you're advocating "ticket-writers of fortune", I think you need to reexamine the libertarian philosophy.

....shoulder to shoulder with an member of the local Libertarian Party in the early 1970's) there are a range of liberterian views. At least one group believes in the privitization of all government functions (including the police and defense forces). You would contract with a particular company (such as Blackwater), and they would provide the services you need. Of course, this would be individuals banding together to contract rather than the government (which would be a shell of what we now deal with).

Old South End Broadway

- at least not with the way you've phrased your language for people to vote!

Why don't you rephrase it as the following, giving the people the information they need in which to render an intelligent decision?

(1) As they are now, which lead to increases in accidents and violations of Constitutional safegards

(2) With the addition of a law enforcement officer to issue citations which protect your Constitutional rights

...get rid of the Traffic Signals altogether. YES OSEB, the Wild Wild West as you put it.

I offer a report from Europe that suggest that eliminating traffic signals and signage increases drivers awareness and eliminates the false feeling of security they may offer. Interesting concept.

Redesigning roads to leave drivers and pedestrians uncertain about who has priority will save lives, according to a report by Britain’s most senior transport officials. The move would automatically cut traffic speed without the need for cameras, they say.

Barriers and signs such as railings, kerbs, traffic lights and white lines cause crashes because people assume they will keep them safe and therefore fail to focus on what other road users are doing. Giving drivers less information by removing signs will encourage them to slow down to negotiate a safer course along high streets and across junctions.

If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth. ~Japanese Proverb

this report comes from a culture that has manual shift right hand drive into roundabouts with no traffic signals. Roundabouts, might I add, which have a whole lot of cars using them.

After being accustomed to left-handed driving, try the "right-side" style then try doing a roundabout.

oh momma.

They are there to make money and for no other reason. Everybody knows that.

Why not take full advantage of them?

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a

I phrased it that way because that is the way that COAST is presenting it. If it is about preserving our constitutional rights then we should flood the streets with cops (as I suggest) to maintain a safe environment (and make them self-financing). KK, you do raise a point, but would that also preclude a body of police to maintain control of traffic? Or should we find out through crash-and-burn whether the above official is correct in his assessment?

At the beginning of the last century the driving environment was as you think it should be. Something caused all those laws and rules to be adopted.

Old South End Broadway

Leave things the way they are. There are no constitutional rights being trampled, nor is the generation of city income via automated traffic cop a problem. The red light cameras help to provide drivers with a clear intersection when the light changes - which we won't have otherwise.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

"There are no constitutional rights being trampled..."

MadJack, I'm not trying to 'slam' you here, but to the 'Average Joe', who knows little of the Constitution, there appears to be no problem, but to those that know the Constitution, there at least 2 Amendments being trampled. "Due Process" (5th Amendment) is one of the more flagrant ones. Just off the top of my head, in early morning with only 1/2 cup of coffee, others that come up are the 4th and 6th.

In criminal cases, you DO NOT have to testify against your spouse, but in the red light cases, if SHE/HE is the one that ran the light and the car is registered to you, YOU must tell the hearing officer that SHE was the guilty party to avoid YOU getting the penalty. So much for the sanctity of marriage!

- leave them there, but with a much smaller fine- 25 $

I would certainly like to see the fine reduced. But the portion paid to the company that set up the cameras is $55, Our city government might be able to build a cheaper system for the citizens, but maybe not.

Old South End Broadway

nology I do not think cost is a factor. They would rather have a policeman monitoring each camera, and issuing citations rather than rely on technology.

Old South End Broadway

Ok, GraphicsGuy, enlighten me at your leisure. I strongly support our constitutional rights and if those rights are being violated here, I'd really like to know which ones and how.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

 "Amendment 6   In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

1) The company that monitors the red light cameras is in Arizona. NOT in the ''district wherein the crime shall have been committed'

2) When sent a letter saying you broke a law by running a red light, you are not being "confronted with the witnesses against him".  instead you are being confronted by an out of state company who happened to take a picture and sent that picture into the local police.

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a

Where exactally in the constitution does it say that you have the right to run redlights or drive above the posted speed limits?

Does the ticket you get for breaking either of those two laws forbid you to contest the ticket in court? That might be a violation of said rights but that is a different issue then the actual use of the cameras.

They cause accidents or lead to an increase in them?

Stopping at a red light doesn't cause accidents.
The dumbass riding your ass is what causes and increases the likelyhood of an accident.

If the guy (or gal) behind you is following too close or driving to fast to be able to stop before he plows into you it is NOT the fault of the person who stopped for the redlight. It doesn't matter if there is a camera there or not!

Yes I would prefer to see the city owning and operating the lights rather then some 3rd party so that more of the funds went into our coffers.

I know its not a popular opinion here but IMHO if you're not breaking the law then you don't have to worry about those cameras.

Come on first off the bill of rights has nothing to do with this, the due process is out the window because they are not a legal issue. You get nabbed by a red light camera, then you pay a fine. Nothing goes on your record, not a real traffic citation. They are to make money for the city and to hopefully make the intersection a little safer. We dont need officers there for anything. Simple solution to this, pay attention while driving. If it is yellow slow down and stop, if you are past the point of no return, then you can make it through the intersection, if you are going to fast to stop, well then your speeding. The only people that would have problems with these cameras are the ones who break the law in the first place. I have never gotten my picture taken, and I have no problem with them at all. If I screwed up and ran an intersection, then I broke the law and should consider myself lucky it was just the camera and have to pay a fine, rather than have point on my liscense, and more so that I didnt hit some poor soul because they had the green.

No problem there, right?

After all, if you aren't a terrorist, there is nothing to worry about.

And warrentless wiretapping in order to protect the public from terrorists is OK.

Don't blame me,
I didn't vote for a

(Army Security Agency). I am kind of ambivalent. I know what the Constitution says, and what we did. I had few qualms about it when I was in the service. You followed orders, and did your job. The key was not getting caught. The enemy was the guy or girl you were trying intercept. It did not matter who it was if you were told to do the surveillance. I doubt much has changed in 40 years. Most people do not understand that secrecy is not to keep the "enemy" from knowing what you are doing (if they are any good they will have people as good as you are trying to find out). It is to keep the American people from knowing about it. So do I support the NSA listening to my phone calls? I do not really care. Let them bore themselves. A professional will run rings around them.

Old South End Broadway

First of all - in all sincerity, let me thank you for your service in the military.

Second, am I to read that the government is breaking laws and violating Constitutional guarantees to catch the law breakers?

Guess that's one reason I'm 100% against that piece drummed up by Asscroft Ashcroft call the 'Patriot Act'. (Pretty clever in the naming of it. Infers that if you DON'T agree with the 'Patriot Act', then you're not a 'Patriot' and therefore 'Anti-American'! Pretty clever, them white boys!)

...I know as much as you do from the news. From my past experience I would assume so. The military ethos is to obey orders, and unless you come face to face with killing humans in violation of the rules of war (such as Mei Li?), you can rationalize a lot of what you do.
The ASA did intercepts around the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 even though that was a violation of federal law. The rationale was that we were looking for foreign involvement in the protests. And some of the reports indicated Eastern European languages (Hungarian, Czech, Polish) as "walkie-talkie" chatter. There did seem to be some coordination of efforts.

Old South End Broadway

Both here and in another 'topic' someone has insinuated that if you don't break the law, you have nothing to worry about. Let me just 'reprint' what I wrote in response:

It's not about breaking the law - it's about how it's 'enforced' by doing an 'end run' around the Constitution.

You're not going to find a person on this board or any other board that applauds law-breakers. I do, however, have a problem with a governmental agency ignoring Constitutional Rights. The rights that are being trampled in these cases are the 4th, 5th, possibly the 6th and what others, I don't know, but in my opinion, DUE PROCESS (or lack thereof) is the biggest problem

If you're going to say "well, throw that Amendment to the side for the better of the country" where does it stop? How many rights must die before it directly affects YOU and you finally say "HEY! I've got rights! You're violating my Constitutional rights!"

Is a Warrantless Search okay by you? Since you have nothing to hide, you have no problem if Law Enforcement breaks your door down and proceeds to search the premise for illegal contraband? You have none, therefore you have no problem, right? You're perfectly willing to give up the paragraph about being 'secure in your home' because you are not guilty of anything, right?

I am against them for the simple fact is that they are used for enforcement. They take police off the streets and remove the visibile presence of the police (which does actually deter crime).

Since Toledo put them in we have not seen responses to other crimes go up and that was a key reason they used when they put them in. They are nothing more than a way to get more money. It's a backdoor fee.

Sure less people may get injured from a car running a red light but when that same person is accosted outside of their own home because the police are enforcing the law less and less then there is a problem.


In posting on another blog concerning the COAST and the red light cameras, one of the bloggers said he was "all for the Constitution", but defended Toledo's use of the red light cameras. He said that appealing was "a waste of the courts time" and my reply to him was the following, which I post here:
"...wasting the courts time..."

See, that's what you're not catching - there is no 'court'! A court in front of a judge or magistrate has rules to follow and that wonderful thing called innocent until proven guilty", due process, to be judged by a jury, public trial and all that good Constitutional stuff!

That does not exist in Toledo's 'hearings'!

You are guilty unless you can prove your innocence.

Others are not allowed in the 'hearing' room

There is no 'due process'

The 'hearing officer' who is not a judge, a magistrate or even an officer of the court finds you guilty or innocent.

Calibration and maintenance records are unavailable or non existent to check the accuracy of the camera or the validity of the pictures. (Discovered in my FOIA lawsuit against the City of Toledo)

There is no 'chain of custody' for the pictures/video.

And, my favorite - in the City's response to my FOIA lawsuit Toledo has reluctantly admitted that there is no 'Administrative Process' (rules to follow) as stated in the TMC313.12(d)(4) Appeals shall be heard through an administrative process established by the City of Toledo Police Department.

Now Ryan, if all of these tramplings of the Constitution are okay-fine and dandy with you, then your statement "I am all for the Constitution" is (1)either nothing but BS (2)you haven't a clue as to what the Constitution guarantees other than your right to say whatever you want (3)you're only 'for' the Constitution when it benefits you and if your 'rights' are stepped on, you cry like a little girl, or (4)you're arguing just for the sake of arguing.

As I said previously, attend the COAST meeting. Even if you go with your current 'mind-set', GO! Attend and see if there's anything that makes sense to you. Ask questions. Find out exactly why Toledo's red light cameras are wrong. Find out why many other cities have voted them out of existence. Find out how red light cameras cause crashes. And find out how the city can prevent crashes at intersections in the name of safety without the use of red light cameras.