Red-Light Camera Contract Set to Expire

The current contract is set to expire at the end of July after the LA council did not overturn a Police Commission decision


LA's red-light camera program is set to expire at the end of July after the city council considered a motion Tuesday that would have extended the program. 

The proposal, presented by Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Bernard Parks, would have prolonged the program for one year on a month-to-month basis. The city's Police Commission voted earlier this month to end the red-light camera program contract with an Arizona-based company.

After a lengthy discussion Tuesday at City Hall, the council did not have the votes to overturn the commission's decision.

In its 5-0 vote, the Police Commission questioned the program's  safety value.

Cardenas said an LAPD study found that collisions at the 32 city intersections with cameras decreased by 64  percent from 2004 and 2009. He called for the LAPD to study the public safety risk of ending the camera program and report back before the council ended the program.

"I don't tweet, I don't e-mail, but I believe in technology," said Councilmember Tom LaBonge at Tuesday's meeting. "I think technology is something we have to look at. Technology is a tool that will help us."

Parks and Cardenas said they want to continue the program for another year to assess its public safety value and how to make it work  financially. The motion asked the city administrative officer and chief legislative analyst to jointly look at the holes in the  program's fee structure and to meet with the Los Angeles Superior Court judges  regarding their refusal to impose penalties for red light camera violations.

"It's what other programs are not being paid for because we have to subsidize this program," said Councilmember Paul Krekorian at Tuesday's meeting. "What about all the other programs that could be more effective? That's why cost issues have to be taken into account."

The council's Tuesday meeting came one day after the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which is led by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, adopted a resolution to endorse red-light cameras as a safety tool. The group said the cameras "help reduce red-light running and speed-related injuries and fatalities."

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