Red lights cameras coming to Colorado Springs

Published: May. 8, 2018 at 6:27 PM MDT
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Colorado Springs police are getting ready to install red light enforcement cameras around the city.

The city used to have them until late 2011 when the effectiveness of the cameras was questioned.

Now, seven years later, officers say things have changed.

"We have a lot more people here," said Sgt. John Koch with the Colorado Springs Police Department. "There are a lot of issues we have to address with traffic congestion and things like that.”

Plus, more recently, the department has received more complaints from citizens regarding road safety.

“When we receive consistent concerns from our citizens about dangerous driving and what the roadways are looking like and how traffic is, then it’s our job to do something to address that,” Koch said.

They'll start by installing four cameras throughout the city either late summer or early fall of this year. While they haven't decided where they'll go at this point, they'll likely at busy intersections where there are the most crashes.

After roughly a year of assessment, they'll consider adding six more if the cameras are successful. How successful they are will depend on data and if drivers comply with traffic laws while making our roads safer.

The Colorado Springs City Marshals, who work in the El Paso County Courthouse, will initially oversee the program. In the beginning, the court will be responsible for collecting fines.

The money for the cameras will come from the police department's 2018 budget. Mayor John Suthers designated funds to cover the startup costs for the program.

Any money from the citations will first go toward paying the camera company and then into the city's general fund. The mayor and City Council decide what happens with the money from there.

“There’s a Colorado state law that specifically outlines what fees can be paid toward a vendor, and it’s based on the value of the camera equipment, so it has nothing to do with whether one summons was issued or a thousand summonses are issued by that piece equipment,” Koch said.

Police say they hope to address the traffic complaints by drivers to make the city safer, not just for residents, but for officers as well.

“It’s a public safety issue, but it’s also an issue of safety for officers at some of these larger intersections," Koch said. "We want to make sure that they are safe and that the members of our community are safe as well, and this is one way to do that.”

The cameras could also allow officers to respond better to calls.

“By design, when you have a camera at one of those intersections, then that can potentially free up our officers to be responding to calls for service, traffic collisions, conducting other law enforcement related duties," Koch said. "That’s where we consider it to be a force multiplier for those reasons.”

If all goes well, they hope to improve roads.

“Our goal as a law enforcement agency is voluntary compliance with the law, especially traffic law, and so we want to ensure that whatever we do with these cameras, with any enforcement program, that citizens voluntarily comply with traffic law and making the city safe," Koch said.