Some red-light camera tickets to be tossed

Police asked to address right-turn-on-red violations

By LOREN GENSON Gazette Staff Writer November 20, 2008

Mayor Joe Sulzer has asked the Chillicothe Police Department to throw out most right-turn-on-red violations flagged by the red light cameras installed by the city last month.

Safety Services Committee Chair Dustin Proehl, D-At Large, said the cameras are unfairly citing those making right-hand turns.
"It did not work the way we thought it would work," Proehl said.
The Chillicothe Safety Services Committee will meet to discuss the right-turn-on-red issue and others Friday at a Safety Services Committee meeting. Proehl, who voted against the cameras, said a few other fixes will be discussed at Friday's meeting.
"Regardless of how I feel about them personally, we have to abide by what we can do," Proehl said, adding the city has signed a five-year contract and that he hopes to discuss a few of the issues raised by opponents of the cameras in recent weeks. Proehl said Sulzer already has directed the Chillicothe Police Department to throw out all red-light infractions unless they are "particularly egregious or involve a pedestrian," Proehl said.
Other issues to be discussed at Friday's meeting include the length of the yellow light at red-light camera intersections, and adding more 25-mph signs in Chillicothe's downtown. Proehl said the yellow lights now are all at four seconds where there are red-light cameras; however, he said he would be interested in looking at extending the length for intersections where the speed limit is 40 mph.
"We'll discuss state engineering code, and maybe should we move it up to five seconds, that will be something we discuss," Proehl said, adding he also would like to discuss the $95 appeal fee for those hoping to get their citation overturned. A number of residents objected to paying a fee for their right to appeal, and Proehl said Sulzer and the city law director's office are looking into the matter.
More than 3,000 Ross County residents have signed a petition asking the city to remove the red-light cameras approved by an 8-1 council vote last December. Proehl said he will conduct a review session with council in the near future to discuss the overall issues.
"We will look into the contract and see what we have to work with," he said. "If we keep taking peoples ideas and applying fixes, we might be able to get (the cameras) to a point where they're not being unfair to people."
A group of those opposed to the cameras planned an organizational meeting at the Ross County Network for Children Wednesday evening. Katherine Hine, a local attorney who runs the network, has been an opponent of the cameras and has said she will work with other opponents to get an official petition together. Wednesday's meeting was not open to the media.
(Genson can be reached at 772-9369 or via e-mail at [replacer_a])