Should they stay or go? Councilman wants answers on effectiveness of Red Light Camera program in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council are set to once again review how effective those pesky red light cameras are across the city.
“It was something that I wanted to explore and look at when I got here, and the time is right now,” said Metro Councilman Cleve Dunn, of District 6.
Baton Rouge’s Red Light Camera program has been in place since 2008.
But could this new council be the one to finally get rid of them completely?
“Myself and many other people think that it is a cash grab for the city-parish. And I want to make sure that’s not the case,” said Councilman Dunn.
Dunn is on the search for answers. He wants to know how effective they really are.
“I’ve had many complaints from people about issues with these traffic cameras. Some that feel it’s unconstitutional, others who feel like they did not commit a violation, yet they got a citation,” said Dunn.
There are more than a dozen intersections across Baton Rouge with the red-light cameras.
At about $167 per ticket, last year, the city-parish brought in about $3.5million dollars. Officials say the money goes into the Baton Rouge Police Department’s roughly $95 million annual budget.
But while most people think these red-light cameras are a nuisance, city-parish officials believe they are a part of public safety.
“It is a modern way to basically calm down traffic and do enforcement,” said Darryl Gissel, EBR Chief Administrative Officer.
Gissel says an outside vendor is responsible for running the program.
But BRPD officials review every ticket just to make sure it’s valid.
“And the processing fee to us is 30 dollars. We pay a flat fee to the provider of the equipment to do a collection,” said Gissel.
He also says police have access to these cameras, and it helps them have eyes in more places.
“I think the most effective number to give is that if someone pays for one ticket, they’re very unlikely to get a second or third ticket. So that’s what we want to see. We want to see that reduction. And the interesting thing about red light cameras, given the traffic on the roadway which increases and gets worse every day, you really can’t use law enforcement officers on motorcycles to issue those tickets,” said Gissel.
The current contract for the cameras still has a few years on it.
But council members could vote on getting out of the agreement.
“I just want to bring the information forward and we hear what it says. And we evaluate it and we make a determination from there,” said Councilman Dunn.
The Red Light Camera Program will be discussed at the council meeting on September 21.
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