Toledo, Ohio, collected almost $630,000 during its first four months of using hand-held cameras to catch speeding drivers, providing a financial boost to a city facing budget troubles.
The program was expected to generate $800,000 in a year but is on pace to collect more than twice that amount, The Blade reported.
Officers using the city’s four hand-held cameras have been stationed in marked cars and on motorcycles in school zones and under bridges on Interstate 475. Speeders captured on video are fined $120, and at least $90 of that goes to the city.
A portion of the fines goes to Redflex Traffic Systems, the Arizona firm that also maintains the city’s system of 44 stationary speed and red-light cameras. The stationary cameras generated nearly $1 million for the city in the first half of this year, or about two-thirds of the expected annual amount.
Among the nearly 6,300 people ticketed using the hand-held cameras from March to June was Theresa Gabriel, the chairwoman of the City Council’s public safety and criminal justice reform committee. She was surprised by the amount of money generated using the hand-held devices.
“I am sure the administration is looking at this as a good thing, and I am sure the taxpayers are looking at it as if they are victims, but if you are speeding, you are speeding,” she said.
The city has been dealing with a tight budget and within the last year has increased trash collection fees and delayed hiring new police officers and firefighters.
Councilman Rob Ludeman said the goal of the speed cameras is to get people to slow down, not to raise funds.
“I congratulate the police department for being aggressive,” he said. “I’ve never wanted it to be a revenue generator, but it will make our streets safe.”
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