9/15/2005Burlington, Iowa Top Cop: Cameras are Money Generators
Burlington's number two police officer suggests local Iowa officials have embraced red light cameras to generate revenue.
In testimony before the Burlington, Iowa city council, Assistant Police Chief Dan Luttenegger admitted that the city council would primarily be interested in red light cameras and speed cameras as money generators, and implied this was the very reason the city of Davenport approved cameras. Luttenegger was on hand to convince the council to install the devices.
"I'm not looking at it as a money generator, but I'm sure the council will," Luttenegger testified, as reported in The Hawk Eye. "That's exactly what Davenport uses that money for ... Basically, they're employing a couple of people with the revenue generated by that."
Luttenegger corrected himself by adding: "But that's not my purpose ... The big thing is the safety factor. I mean, it's eliminated major accidents at a lot of these intersections in Davenport. They're starting to track their stats and stuff and it's making a hell of a difference. People know it's there."
Red light camera have not reduced crashes at every monitored intersection in Davenport. At Kimberly and Welcome Way, for example, the average number of accidents overall jumped from 12 to 14.7 as a result of a 220 percent increase in the number of rear end collisions. The cameras did generate $234,000 in revenue.
"This is very representative of what is occurring across the country," said Eric Skrum, spokesman for the National Motorists Association. "Time and time again, it has been shown that red light cameras do not increase safety. Yet, this fact is continually ignored in favor of the money that will be generated by the cameras."
Burlington Mayor Mike Edwards is not convinced cameras are needed and does not believe the council will vote to support the machines.
Although Edwards said he doesn't mind Luttenegger gathering copies of ordinances passed by other cities for the council to review, "I don't think it's going to happen so I don't want him to spend a lot of time on it. I didn't see any heads nodding (Monday) to tell you the truth, including my own, so I don't think it's going to happen at this time," he said. "Who knows what future councils might want to do, but I don't see this council doing anything with it."Source: Council frowns at stoplight cameras (The Hawk Eye (Burlington, IA), 9/15/2005)
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