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Hot Debate on Red Light Cameras in Ohio
TROTWOOD/RIVERSIDE -- The red light camera debate is getting hotter.
Some Ohio legislators are looking to ban them, leaving some local communities scrambling.
Riverside Mayor Bill Flaute is like any other mayor.
He would love to see more green in the city's coffers, but when it came to adding red light cameras, he hit the brakes.
"We need the money as bad as Trotwood and everyone else does but there's a cost that goes with that and we want to be fair," Flaute said.
He didn't think it was fair to hit drivers with an $85 ticket when $50 goes to a company called "Redflex." They're the ones who supply and maintain the cameras.
"The city who has them who starts out with them they're not getting rich right off the bat, Redflex is," said Edward Schock, Deputy Mayor for the City of Riverside.
"I wouldn't call it a scam, it's just an easy way to collect money instead of doing it the old-fashioned way, which is going to the voters," said Schock.
And voters just might have the chance to be heard.
"I think they're wrong," said Travis Cabrera. "I think they're stealing money from people who work hard for their money and for no reason."
"They're stupid to me," said Cheris Alsup. "I think they're a waste of time a waste of taxpayers' money, and they should get rid of them."
In the state's capitol, legislators are debating a bill that would ban red light cameras in Ohio.
But law enforcement all over the state are pushing back, saying the cameras save lives.
"As of January 2013, crashes are down by 35 percent in the City of Trotwood," Trotwood Police Capt. John Porter said to Ohio state legislators.
Porter was a representative for one of three local police agencies that testified against the ban.
"What that system does for us, it's what we call a force multiplier," he said. "It multiplies the size of our police force by being able to have officers in the areas or virtual officers in the areas to monitor traffic that we can't put out there."
Without the cameras, they wouldn't be able to catch as may red light runners or accidents on camera, and also generate $300,000 a year.
That money goes to pay for two new cruisers, and two officer's salaries.
It's money Capt. Porter says the city can't function without.
"These losses would be significant for the community," he said. "The residents would start to feel a big drain on services, they would start to feel a big drain on the response time that we're able to provide to them at this point."
If red light and speed cameras are banned in Ohio, the cities who use them would not be responsible for taking them down.
The company, Redflex, would pay out of its own pocket to remove them.
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