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Pickerington gives the red light to traffic cameras
Police chief Mike Taylor asked the Pickerington council not to approve the red light cameras that he originally suggested.
The council obliged.
"My job is to provide the best safety possible for the city of Pickerington," Taylor said. "When I first (learned of) the red light cameras, it was merely a safety issue that would help my officers. Not once did the monetary (concern me).
"I thought there would be a few skeptics who may come around, but the division made between the public and members of council is not what I wanted. I didn't expect 100 percent approval, but I did expect it to be more well-received than it was," Taylor said.
He said he believes the red light program would benefit the community, but understands everyone's concerns.
"Take whatever measure is necessary to drop (the ordinance) from the agenda," he said. "I humbly no longer want to support the red light cameras."
Councilman Michael Sabatino said initially he also thought the red light cameras would be good.
"I personally observe lots of people running red lights," he said.
However, once he learned that only one crash occurred last year as a result of a driver running a red light at one of the suggested intersections, he changed his vote.
"It's not really worth the mistrust coming from some citizens," Sabatino said.
Councilman Brian Sauer was the sole supporter of the cameras.
"From a safety point of view, red light runners cause accidents. It's a no-brainer," Sauer said. "I respect Chief Taylor's position, but I pride myself on staying consistent."
Councilman Keith Smith said while council members should be consistent, they must also accept new information.
Smith said he changed his vote to oppose the cameras based on the mayor's request to give the ACS system a chance to work and the police chief rescinding the request.
"The chief asked us not to approve. I will respect his opinion and comply," Smith said.
The ACS (Adaptive Control System) is a traffic control system that the city paid $250,000 to install along Hill Road, including the intersections where red light cameras would have been installed - Diley, Refugee and Tussing Roads.
The system uses tiny cameras to sense the depth of traffic waiting at an intersection.
Only half of the system has thus far been installed.
Mayor Mitch O'Brien said that the ACS could lower the number of red light violations because drivers may begin to feel that even though they missed the green light, it will be their turn again soon.
Brian Wisniewski and Cristie Hammond were the only council members who voted against the cameras consistently.
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