Police shut down red-light camera program

A red-light camera at San Fernando Road and Los Feliz Bloulevard in Glendale on Friday, November 6, 2009. Glendale officials decided to terminate the city's program last month with Phoenix-based operator Redflex Traffic Systems. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Glendale police will no longerissue citations for red-light violations caught by cameras set up at four intersections throughout the city, officials said.

The decision, which took effect Feb. 24, was made because the program had become a burden on resources, and police needed the officer assigned to reviewing violations out in the field, officials said.

In short, the nearly 4-year-old red-light camera program became “cumbersome” and not “the best use of our resources,” Capt. Carl Povilaitis said.

Police sent a letter last month to the camera system’s operator, Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, to terminate the program.

Glendale’s move comes eight months after the Los Angeles City Council and Police Commission unanimously voted to terminate their red-light camera enforcement for an array of reasons, including its cost effectiveness and payment of the tickets.

While state laws allow police agencies to use red-light cameras for enforcement, recent successful litigation challenging the legality of those citations also played a role in the decision to stop the program, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

“It just didn’t make a lot sense to keep going forward with it,” he said.

More than 5,800 citations were issued last year to motorists through the red-light cameras, police said.

Police have already started dismissing red-light violation citations, and local courthouses have been notified about the department’s decision, Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

Police will not pursue citations issued to motorists before Feb. 24, and will not contest a ticket that’s challenged in court.

But red-light violators and those who paid fines and pleaded guilty to tickets before Feb. 24 will not be reimbursed, police said.


FOR THE RECORD: One of the intersections was incorrectly identified as Pacific Avenue and Central Avenue. The correct intersection is Pacific Avenue and Colorado Street.


The cameras will remain at the intersections of Mountain Street and Verdugo Road, Los Feliz Road and San Fernando Road, Pacific Avenue and Colorado Street and Glendale Avenue and Broadway until the agreement between the city and Redflex ends, Zurn said. At that point, the cameras will be returned to the firm.

Red-light cameras were installed in June 2008 at intersections with the highest collision rate as a part of pilot program.

When the program proved to be successful, the city extended its contract with Redflex and maintained the cameras.

About 1,000 citations were being issued per month when the cameras were first installed, according to city reports. But in the years following, police began to see those numbers drop by about half. Police attributed the drop to motorists becoming mindful of traffic safety.

Costs for the program were paid for through revenue generated from citations, officials said. But those figures had dropped to the point where the city was just breaking even, Lorenz said.

Police advised motorists with pending tickets from red-light cameras to check with local courthouses about the status of their tickets.