Dayton plans to bring back speed, red-light cameras

An increase in traffic crashes and fatalities has Dayton police planning to bring back red-light and speed-detection cameras in the city.

Dayton police propose to use 10 fixed camera systems, six hand-held devices and two portable trailer units, restarting a controversial program that was shelved in mid-2015 after the state put tough new restrictions on the use of automated traffic cameras.

The Dayton Police Department will comply with state law and will only document and cite motorists for traffic violations caught on camera when officers are present at the equipment, said Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl.


The cameras will be in use part of the time, because the police department has limited resources, but traffic crash data clearly show that the cameras make Dayton’s roads safer, Biehl said.

“Camera traffic enforcement has always been a very effective way to control hazardous driving, and so we’re obviously making a recommendation to return to that,” Biehl said.

The Dayton Police Department’s photo enforcement program began in 2003 and ended in July 2015 after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a sworn officer must be present in order to issue tickets.

»RELATED: 5 things to know about Dayton’s red-light camera case

State lawmakers passed legislation placing that and other requirements on use of the devices, but some Ohio cities challenged the constitutionality of the law. Dayton is still fighting to get key components of the law struck down.

Critics have accused cities of using traffic cameras primarily to generate revenue, and some have claimed that they are unconstitutional because they skirt due process and other protections.

“I have always maintained that photo-enforcement cameras were more about money than safety,” Ohio Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, who sponsored the legislation restricting use of the technology, told this news outlet in the past.

But Dayton’s cameras continued recording until the end of 2015 for data collection.

»RELATED: Dayton to shut down traffic cameras   

The data showed big spikes in speeding and red-light violations at the intersections when the cameras were no longer used to issue citations, said Dayton police Detective Jason Ward.

Since 2014, crashes citywide increased 40 percent and traffic deaths increased 45 percent, according to Dayton police.

Police identified the top 25 crash intersections, and the police department plans to install fixed cameras at sites based on a three-year analysis of crash data, as required by state law, Ward said.

The mobile and hand-held devices are speed-detection cameras. The fixed cameras are expected to be a mix of speed-detection and red-light cameras.

Deployment of the hand-held and trailer traffic cameras will be based on residents’ complaints and when neighborhoods or officers request them, Ward said.

»RELATED: City wants to restart photo-enforcement traffic program

The cameras at fixed locations are expected to be operational and issuing fines for traffic violations roughly about eight hours each week per site, Ward said.

“That will be subject to staffing and operational considerations,” he said.

The first 30 days of the program are required to be a warning period, in which motorists will receive warnings in the mail instead of fines.

The city also will conduct a public awareness campaign to inform motorists about the reintroduction of the cameras and the locations of the fixed devices.

The camera technology will be used selectively because of resource and manpower limitations, Biehl said.

The program requires legislative action by the Dayton City Commission.

But commissioners have repeatedly said that the city became less safe when the traffic cameras were turned off.

Cameras change motorists’ behavior and get citizens to drive at safer speeds, said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Service restored for DP&L customers in Montgomery County
Service restored for DP&L customers in Montgomery County

UPDATE @ 9:44 p.m.: DP&L crews restored service to more than 300 customers by repairing a pole damaged in a vehicle accident in the 3200 block of Farmersville-Johnsville Road, said Kelly Millhouse, operations director. Service was restored about 9:20 p.m., she said. UPDATE @ 9:10 p.m.: Multiple crews are in Montgomery County trying to track down the...
2 teens injured in Darke County crash on snow-covered road
2 teens injured in Darke County crash on snow-covered road

Two teens were injured after crashing their vehicle into a utility pole after sliding on snow-covered roads Tuesday evening. Darke County deputies arrived on the scene of a crash involving two teens Tuesday evening. The accident occured in the 11400 block of Staudt Rd.  According to Darke County Sheriff's Office, Kyler Guillozet, 16, of Rossburg...
Indiana State Patrol trooper, suspect shot during traffic stop, altercation
Indiana State Patrol trooper, suspect shot during traffic stop, altercation

UPDATE @ 10:10 p.m.: Both the Indiana State Police trooper and the suspect were wounded in an exchange of gunfire during a traffic stop just east of downtown Jeffersonville, in southern Indiana, ISP Sellersburg District PIO Jerry Goodin said.  The trooper's condition is non-life threatening, "which is very good news for us," Goodin said...
Lindsey Vonn opens up about backlash after Trump-Olympics comments
Lindsey Vonn opens up about backlash after Trump-Olympics comments

After pledging to represent the United States but not President Trump at the 2018 Winter Olympics, skier Lindsey Vonn is opening up about some of the backlash she’s been receiving since. “I’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback, both positive and negative, about my recent CNN interview,” she explained in a long...
Students create exhibit, calendar of Springfield park scenes
Students create exhibit, calendar of Springfield park scenes

With chills in the air and mostly grey skies outside, imagining an afternoon in the park is a nice escape. Project Jericho can make that happen every day in 2018 with Afternoon in the Park, an art exhibit inspired by changing seasons at local landscapes that also led to an original calendar. The exhibit will be from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, in...
More Stories