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Friday, October 16, 2015

Reminder: Linndale, Newburgh Hts. Still Issuing Speed Camera Tickets to Fill City Coffers

Posted By on Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Just because laws have changed and speed cameras are largely a thing of the past doesn't mean that Podunk hamlets that use mayor's courts and traffic fines to bolster budgets aren't done giving you tickets. Sure, speed cameras now have to be manned, in a matter of speaking, by an actual officer who has to be present with the device. Most cities have way more important uses for their resources than deploying an officer to do that. But not Linndale and Newburgh Hts.

A couple of stories from the last few days to illustrate.

The Plain Dealer's Michael McIntyre covered everyone's favorite money drop on I-71, Linndale. There, the city is building a shack so that the Linndale officer stationed on Memphis Ave. can enjoy all the comforts of home while being physically close to the camera and not really paying attention to it at all. Let Mr. Sound of Ideas explain:

Unlike most jurisdictions that switched off their speed cameras after state legislators passed a burdensome new law, Linndale has gone to great lengths to comply. The village set up an administrative hearing process for appeals. It erected signs. It conducted a safety study.

And in its latest move to bolster the franchise that provides most of the village's financing, construction is underway on a small roadside house where a police officer can observe the traffic cameras. State law mandates the presence of a police officer, even though a camera ticket is a civil infraction and doesn't count on your driving record.

The house is situated just off Memphis Avenue on the Avenue of Peace, the road that leads into the few streets that comprise Linndale. It's in the same spot where an officer has been sitting in a village-owned car. The structure covers 80 square feet and will provide a comfortable perch for the officer, with electricity, heat, air conditioning and a view of the cameras through a large picture window.

Not that he's required to even look at them. The law, Amended Senate Bill 342, only requires that an officer be present when cameras flag speeders. The officer doesn't have to witness an infraction, verify a license number, or even be conscious.


If I-77 is more your direction, you should know that Newburgh Hts. is taking a similar approach. WKYC reports Newburgh, in addition to regular officer patrols and stops, is also using a speed camera manned by an officer that'll simply send the owner of the vehicle a ticket in the mail.

As a lawyer interviewed by the station notes, two important things here: 1) Again, these don't count as points on your driving record and, 2) If everyone stopped paying these bullshit tickets, the programs would probably just go away. 

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