I-Team: Seeing Red
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, red light cameras in Baton Rouge shoot and flash. They have taken in millions of dollars for the city and cost a lot of drivers a lot of money. Not everyone is paying, though, including the drivers of dozens of city vehicles.
The I-Team pulled East Baton Rouge Parish records and discovered that since the red light camera program began in 2008 almost half of the red light tickets for city-parish vehicles have not been paid.
Records show 41 city vehicles have been busted by the red light cameras. Of the 41, only 15 tickets were paid and eight were dismissed. The dismissed vehicles were reportedly responding to emergency fire and police calls. The largest chunk out of the 41 vehicles is 18 unpaid vehicles.
"Obviously, we're not playing on a level playing field. The rules should be black and white and if one gets dismissed why did somebody else not get dismissed," said Metro Councilman Joel Boe.
Records show East Baton Rouge Parish has pulled in $6.7 million dollars from red light tickets over the past four years. Boe says the program is a moneymaker for the city, at best.
"I would expect that the City of Baton Rouge set a precedent and an example. it we're going to use tickets for red lights in the parish, I would expect that the City of Baton Rouge take care of unpaid tickets," he said.
East Baton Rouge Parish does have a policy. It requires the red light ticket be paid by the employee driving the vehicle.
Mayor Kip Holden said by phone the issue doesn't fall under his office. He said the City Prosecutor's Office would have more information. City Prosecutor Lisa Freeman declined on camera comment, citing a rule by the Parish Attorney's Office.
"The citations are mailed to the address given to DMV upon registration of the vehicle. This has resulted in many of the citations showing "unpaid" because they are "returned mail" for example - if the address was 300 North Blvd., that address no longer exists since the district court building was opened," said Dawn Guillot with the Parish Attorney's Office via email.
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