Dayton’s red light, speed cameras will run 24/7 without police present

The city of Dayton will not deviate from its plan to install fixed red light and speed-detection cameras at five locations, but police officers won’t be there and the devices will be citing motorists around the clock.

Nearly seven weeks ago, Dayton officials said they would reassess how the city would restart its controversial traffic camera program after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down several restrictions on use of the cameras.

The court ruled that requiring cities to place police officers at traffic cameras during their operation was unconstitutional, meaning that Dayton can now use automated cameras 24 hours per day, instead of only when police are present.

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The court ruling will make traffic cameras more attractive to jurisdictions in Ohio, since they won’t have to dedicate police personnel to use them.

Bur the city of Dayton has no plans to expand its traffic camera program beyond the previously announced fixed sites and mobile devices, said Cara Zinski-Neace, a Dayton police spokeswoman.

“The plan is the same as originally announced,” she said.

For months, the city has worked to restart its traffic camera program, arguing that traffic crashes and fatalities shot up on local roadways after the cameras were turned off. No date has been set yet.

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The city shut down its photo-enforced traffic program in mid-2015 to comply with a new state law that put tough new restrictions on their use.

The city had used cameras to cite motorists for traffic violations since 2002. In 2013, police issued 47,940 speeding and 6,730 red-light citations for violations documented by automated cameras.

Earlier this year, the city said it would install 10 fixed cameras at five locations, and officers also would use six hand-held devices and two portable trailer units at strategic locations.

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To comply with state law, the city planned to place officers at the cameras while in use, which meant they would be in operation only a portion of the time.

But the city challenged the state’s restrictions on traffic cameras and in July won on a couple of major points.

Since the cameras will be on 24/7, they are expected to cite significantly more motorists who speed or run red lights.

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