DENVER (CBS4) – Drivers can’t stand them, but because police say they improve safety at intersections and because they add significant revenue to city coffers, Denver residents may see more photo radar cameras throughout the city.
The city council on Monday night cleared the way for more cameras in the future. Monday’s vote extends the contract with Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc. for six months through June 30.
The bill gives the city time to seek out new contracts to not only continue the program but possibly expand it. In the fewer than five years the red light cameras and speed vans have been in place, the city has collected more than $34 million for the general fund.
The city currently employs red-light cameras at four intersections.
Only one council member didn’t vote to extend the current contract that operates red-light cameras in the city.
“I’ve seen folks blow through red lights doing this, not even paying attention to what’s ahead of them but instead liking something on Facebook,” Councilman Paul Lopez said.
Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz voted against the bill.
“Traffic light, you blow through, you get a ticket,” she said.
But she said the program unfairly tickets drivers who simply cross the white line and don’t actually run the light.
“My standard is whether an officer standing at that intersection would ticket under the same circumstances,” Faatz said.
Despite that argument, other council members agree that the lights should continue to operate as they do now.
“They are about changing behavior and there is no better way of changing behavior than getting one of these types of tickets at a red light,” Councilwoman Susan Shepherd said.
Until the city can afford to hire more officers, Lopez said the cameras are a cost-effective way of keeping citizens safe.
“Every tool that we have in the toolbox to protect people’s safety as they walk in this city as they cross in this city should be utilized,” he said.