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Old 02-21-2010, 09:39 AM   #1
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$866,100 from League City's little red light gold mine

man, what a racket.


Police toss some red light camera tickets
By Karn Dhingra
The Daily News
Published February 21, 2010
LEAGUE CITY — In a span of about three months, motorists driving in League City ran red lights 24,196 times, a rate of 239 times a day, at eight intersections monitored by cameras.

However, the League City Police Department did not issue citations to about 25 percent of the drivers who ran red lights during that time period. In records obtained by The Daily News from the police department, 18,350 citations were issued to motorists from Oct. 1 through Jan 9.

The city began Operation Safelight on Sept. 30 to reduce car crashes and improve traffic flow. The city hired Redflex Traffic Systems, a private company based out of Phoenix, to manage the red light camera program.

The cameras at Interstate 45 South and FM 518 yielded 15,734 violations during the time period, the most of any intersection in the city. The same intersection had the most police rejections — 3,892. League City police issued 11,548 citations to vehicles that ran the red light at the intersection.

League City police rejected 5,254 possible citations from Oct. 1 through Jan. 9. The police department did not give 3,322 vehicles a citation because they were photographed by the cameras making safe right turns at red lights. Police discretion also was cited as the reason why 220 vehicles photographed running a red light were not issued citations.

Plate obstruction, vehicle obstruction, sun glare, paper plates and weather/nature were among the notable reasons League City police rejected possible citations.

Police Chief Michael Jez said he believes the red light program has reduced red light violations and traffic congestion in the city.

Jez initially was not a proponent of red light cameras when a League City resident and employee of Redflex Traffic Systems approached him to do a study of cars running red lights in the city.

“I told him go ahead and do your study, but we’re not paying for it,” Jez said.

Jez said he doesn’t remember how long Redflex conducted the study, but he still wasn’t convinced about their effectiveness until he was shown a video of traffic at FM 518 and FM 270.

“I saw seven or eight cars continue through the red light,” he said. “Cars that had a green light at the intersection were not able to move forward because of the violators.”

Jez said he was satisfied with Redflex’s management of the Operation Safelight program.

“There are no issues,” he said. “They’ve performed as expected.”

But Jessica Hernandez, 28, of Pearland, has some issues with the program. The League City Police Department sent her a citation for running a red light going east at the intersection of I-45 and FM 518 on Jan. 1 at 8:38 a.m.

“I was sleeping at the time,” Hernandez said.

“And nobody was driving my car; my husband was at work,” she said. “My car was with me that morning.”

Hernandez said she thinks Redflex’s cameras have a glitch. She said that if she did run a red light, the date on the ticket is definitely wrong.

She also suspects the previous owner of her car ran a red light and Redflex was late to inform the police of the violation, Hernandez said. Hernandez also takes issue with the city’s process of handling disputes associated with the Safelight program.

The fact that a car rather than a person is issued a citation for running a red light bothered Hernandez.

“How does a vehicle run a red light without someone driving it?” she said.

After watching an undated video of her car running a red light with a volunteer hearing office at a hearing to dispute her citation, the officer who told Hernandez he did not have the expertise to find her liable, she said.

The officer scheduled Hernandez for an appeal hearing so a judge and an expert can review the citation, video and photos of her violation, she said.

Hernandez said she didn’t know when the hearing would take place.

Hernandez’s citation requires her to a pay $75 fine. If she’s found liable for running a red light at her new hearing, she will also have to pay the city a $50 fee for the new hearing and a $25 fee for her first hearing, for a total of $150.

The police department reviews each red light violation before it issues a citation, Jez said.

Jez asks officers reviewing videos of red light violations to look for unreasonable violations and to reject them.

“I tell them to treat each violation like they were there,” he said. “Ask yourself, ‘Would you have ran that red light?’” Copyright © 2010 The Galveston County Daily News


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Old 02-21-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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Seems like a whole lot of talk and hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo, gobbledygook for what boils down to a new tax/money grab. Just my $.02
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by slopoke View Post
Seems like a whole lot of talk and hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo, gobbledygook for what boils down to a new tax/money grab. Just my $.02

That is precisely what I was going to say! You took the words right out of my mouth!
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:09 AM   #4
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That is precisely what I was going to say! You took the words right out of my mouth!
They can sugar-coat it with all tha self-righteous explanations that the press will print. But people know when they're being screwed, even if they feel powerless to do anything about it by themselves.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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So you guys are saying that running the redlight 239 times a day is untrue OR that it is a safe traffic practice. Are the pictures being "photoshopped" or are these real photos of real people jepardizing the safety of other families? Just curious cause from what I see here in NW Houston/Cypress area, these people realy are running the red light and at incredible speeds. 5 to 7 vehicles AFTER the light turns red. The only way this is a money grab is that people realy ARE running the red lights. And, yes, I was busted for running a redlight and I actually WAS guilty. As for miss Herdandez....I call BS on her claim that she didn't do it and the camera was flawed. The court systems are choke with people claiming to be innocent. I have quoted her lie below.

"But Jessica Hernandez, 28, of Pearland, has some issues with the program. The League City Police Department sent her a citation for running a red light going east at the intersection of I-45 and FM 518 on Jan. 1 at 8:38 a.m.

“I was sleeping at the time,” Hernandez said.

“And nobody was driving my car; my husband was at work,” she said. “My car was with me that morning.”

Then how is it in the photo. When you try to accused a perp, they say "Where's the evidence" .... "Oh, I have a photo". It is accepted in a court of law.

As you can see, I am for the Red Light camera program. Until there is another way to get people to STOP running redlight, this system will have to do. Twice, members of my family have been broadsided by redlight runners. They are both lucky to be alive.

I know we are talking about "the other guys" but we cannot claim we have not seen it. We are to smart for that!!

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Old 02-21-2010, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timemachine View Post
So you guys are saying that running the redlight 239 times a day is untrue OR that it is a safe traffic practice. Are the pictures being "photoshopped" or are these real photos of real people jepardizing the safety of other families? Just curious cause from what I see here in NW Houston/Cypress area, these people realy are running the red light and at incredible speeds. 5 to 7 vehicles AFTER the light turns red. The only way this is a money grab is that people realy ARE running the red lights. And, yes, I was busted for running a redlight and I actually WAS guilty. As for miss Herdandez....I call BS on her claim that she didn't do it and the camera was flawed. The court systems are choke with people claiming to be innocent. I have quoted her lie below.

"But Jessica Hernandez, 28, of Pearland, has some issues with the program. The League City Police Department sent her a citation for running a red light going east at the intersection of I-45 and FM 518 on Jan. 1 at 8:38 a.m.

“I was sleeping at the time,” Hernandez said.

“And nobody was driving my car; my husband was at work,” she said. “My car was with me that morning.”

Then how is it in the photo. When you try to accused a perp, they say "Where's the evidence" .... "Oh, I have a photo". It is accepted in a court of law.

As you can see, I am for the Red Light camera program. Until there is another way to get people to STOP running redlight, this system will have to do. Twice, members of my family have been broadsided by redlight runners. They are both lucky to be alive.

I know we are talking about "the other guys" but we cannot claim we have not seen it. We are to smart for that!!

If they were using those cameras as evidence to back up a citation written by a peace officer at the scene, especially in the event of an accident, I'd be more likely to agree with you. But setting them to autopilot to issue citations against vehicles/owners themselves, with or without officer review ex post facto, is too obviously revenue motivated.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mont View Post
man, what a racket.
and that's exactly what it's designed to be.




Quote:
However, the League City Police Department did not issue citations to about 25 percent of the drivers who ran red lights during that time period.


League City police rejected 5,254 possible citations from Oct. 1 through Jan. 9. The police department did not give 3,322 vehicles a citation because they were photographed by the cameras making safe right turns at red lights. Police discretion also was cited as the reason why 220 vehicles photographed running a red light were not issued citations.



but at least they're trying to make it look like it's not.



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Old 02-21-2010, 11:14 AM   #8
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Just send them a picture of the money...
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:20 AM   #9
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Just send them a picture of the money...
Got to admit...That's funny....greenies to ya.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Timemachine View Post
Got to admit...That's funny....greenies to ya.
If they send you a picture of handcuffs, it's time to pay up...
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