The East Ridge Police Department may soon employ a new tool to help enforce traffic laws: cameras.
The Council approved an ordinance Thursday night that paves the way for cameras at intersections to cite those who run lights or make illegal turns as well as others to ticket speeders.
“This is a safety issue,” said Mayor Mike Steele, who along with Councilmen Tom Card, Denny Manning and Larry Sewell supported the measure.
“I want to know where the cameras are going before approving them,” said Vice Mayor Jerry Petty, who abstained from voting.
Safety Director Eddie Phillips said similar cameras have proved effective in the nearby cities of Chattanooga and Red Bank. A study of crash and speeding violation histories would determine where stationary cameras would be placed, he said.
A mobile unit, like one used in Red Bank, would be similar to having officers “run radar,” Chief Phillips said.
“We are not trying to trap or trick people,” he said. “It frees officers for other duties — I’d rather have them patrolling in neighborhoods than pulling speeders over one at a time — and the cameras operate 24/7.”
The fines will go to the city’s general fund, and Mr. Petty said he would like some of the money earmarked for driver’s education at East Ridge High School.
Chief Phillips said the city is contacting vendors who would install and maintain the cameras for a portion of fines collected from violators.
“It costs the city nothing,” he said.
East Ridge officials are preparing a request for proposal for potential vendors who would supply, install and maintain traffic enforcement cameras. Amending the city code to allow use of traffic control photographic systems requires a second and final reading before vendors can submit bids.