By Rick Sallinger

SHERIDAN, Colo. (CBS4) – There’s a push to end photo radar vans and red light cameras in Sheridan. Supporters want voters to decide whether to get rid of them.

Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a bill that would have banned red light cameras and photo radar throughout the state, so now a grass roots group is picking up the ball starting in Sheridan. Theirs is a cause where supporters make themselves heard with their cars and harsh words.

A photo radar van (credit: CBS)

A photo radar van (credit: CBS)

“You got that guy sitting in the van just eating donuts … just trying to act like he’s doing something with his life, but he’s just ripping people off,” motorist Jason Westman said,

In cities across Colorado photo radar is trumped as a safety tool against speeders, and cameras at intersection guard against red light runners. But Paul Houston and his backers disagree.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews Paul Houston (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger interviews Paul Houston (credit: CBS)

“There are a lot of reasons we don’t like photo radar. The first one is that it doesn’t work, and it’s a money grab,” Houston told CBS4.

They are going door-to-door gathering signatures on petitions for a special election to get rid of the cameras. If it sounds familiar it’s because the petitions were thrown out the first time around because they weren’t stapled properly.

“You cannot do that; this cannot be unbound once you start a petition,” Houston admitted. “Now we’re smarter.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

But the cameras are smart too, leaving the police to deal with crime prevention and other serious matters. Sheridan City Manager Devin Granbery says photo enforcement is effective.

“You can see the traffic slow down … this is a true story, we even had citizen come in to a city council meeting and complain to the city council that the photo radar van slowed down traffic too much around the school,” Granbery said. “We were actually quite pleased to hear that.”

A red light camera (credit: CBS)

A red light camera (credit: CBS)

He warns the police department will be out of 10 percent of its budget if photo radar and red light cameras go away.

Those circulating the petitions say it’s just the start. Today, Sheridan — tomorrow, Denver. As long as they don’t get a red light from the voters.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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