Lakeland to add 10 more red light cameras

By Rick Elmhorst, Anchor\Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013, 5:05 PM EST

Lakeland will be adding 10 new cameras to the city's red light camera system.

City commissioners voted six-to-one for the additional cameras on Monday.

A private company called ATS installed nine red light cameras in the city  in 2009. It shares revenues on the $158 citations with the state and city.

All of the residents who spoke at Monday's commission meeting were opposed to the cameras.

Many residents believe the cameras violate citizen rights and do not improve safety.

"But to give tickets through these automatic cameras is just a complete violation of everybody's rights and it's all about money," said resident Jim McGuire.

But the city's police department believes the red lights are changing driving habits.

The number of citations issued for red light running based on the cameras has dropped dramatically.

In the first full year of use for the cameos in 2010, Lakeland police issued more than 20,000 citations. In 2012 that number dropped to 7,700.

Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields claims most of the residents that contact him are in favor of adding to the red light camera program.

"But there were a lot of people that were not here today who emailed us, called us, stopped us where they have seen us and said this is a no brainer. What is taking you so long?" he said.

The 10 additional cameras should be installed within about six months. Florida lawmakers are being asked to ban the red light cameras. If they do that, Lakeland won't have to pay any additional money to ATS.