Tonawanda News

Local News

January 22, 2014

Traffic camera plan scrutinized

Tonawanda News — Redflex’s proposal to install red light cameras in the City of Tonawanda was met with tough questions and criticism Tuesday night at the council’s regular meeting.

A Redflex representative, David Samuel, attended Tuesday’s meeting to answer council members’ questions, including those about the company’s contentious past. Residents and officials who had done research on the company asked Samuel about a bribery scandal in Chicago that was revealed last year.

An outside investigator determined that Redflex bribed a Chicago city traffic official with lavish trips and tickets to the Super Bowl worth thousands of dollars. The company fired an employee and three top executives resigned. Chicago then banned Redflex from competing in its red light camera program. 

“Who’s to say that won’t happen here?” Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jenna Koch asked.

Resident Robert Derner also argued that the company’s practices are not reputable.

“This is a company that you have to take a look at,” he said.

But Samuel argued that the terminations and the hiring of new leadership has corrected the problem, and that the company’s policies prevent bribery from occurring.

“We have done everything possible to make sure what happened in Chicago never happens again,” he said. 

In December, the body approved a resolution allowing for the plans to progress. Under the proposal, the cameras would be installed at three city intersections, but the program has to first be approved by the state legislature. The body would then have to pass another resolution approving the use of the cameras.

Samuel said that signs would be put up at the intersections with the cameras — Niagara and Seymour streets, Delaware and Broad streets and the Twin Cities Memorial Highway at Young Street. There would be a warning period of about 30 days before the ticketing began. 

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