Traffic eyes in the sky?
By Jessica Bock


Red-light runners in Wentzville beware: The city is considering joining other area municipalities that use cameras at traffic signals to catch violators.

Aldermen decided at a work session Wednesday night to get more information about companies that offer the service. Police Chief Robert Noonan said he would ask the companies to make presentations to the board.

A growing population has also has meant more traffic in Wentzville, and many residents complain to the police department about drivers who run red lights, Noonan said. Wentzville Parkway, for example, often has violators, he said.

Red-light enforcement cameras can take photos of license plate numbers and drivers who enter intersections when the light is red.

"It's a way to deal with the problem because we don't have the police (officers) to sit at intersections," Noonan said.

Many municipalities are turning to companies that offer red-light camera enforcement. In the St. Louis area, Arnold and Florissant have red-light cameras, St. Peters and St. John are planning to install cameras, and St. Charles is considering the idea.

City Administrator Andy McCown said the idea of using red-light cameras was discussed at the work session so city officials could get an idea of whether it was something the board would consider.

The service would be at no cost to the city, Noonan said. The company would pay for the installation of cameras and send tickets to violators. The company would receive part of the fine paid by violators.

Many of the companies require a three-year contract to recover the cost of installing the cameras, Noonan said.

The companies would study which intersections need enforcement before setting up cameras in those areas. Typically, signs alert drivers that they are entering an intersection with red-light camera enforcement.