ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio – People aren’t smiling about being photographed by a new camera system that has led to thousands of speeding citations in a small village near Cincinnati.
Some 6,600 notices carrying fines of $105 each have been sent out in less than a month since Elmwood Place began using the system. That’s in a village of 2,200 people.
Village officials said they contracted for the system because of speeding problems and lack of manpower. They say they are already seeing a drop in speeding.
“It’s working. We are already seeing the number of citations come down. That means fewer people speeding,” said William Peskin, the village police chief.
He said the camera system had a two-week trial period before any citations were sent out. The system detected 20,000 speeding offenses, underscoring the problem of people speeding through the village.
But people complain they have been cited for going only a few miles per hour over the limit. Some drivers have racked up multiple tickets.
A representative of the Our Lady of Lavang Catholic Church said about 70 members of the congregation got citations after Sept. 30 services.
“More than half of my congregation got the tickets,” said Thomas Dao. He was among people saying the village should have provided more advance notice of the new system that started last month.
Ethel Bullock, who has lived here since 1954, said the policy will drive people away.
“Nobody wants to come here now,” she said. “It’s bad for business – the business they’ve got left, anyway.”
Peskin said he will dismiss citations for anyone with more than two in the first two weeks – after they pay the first two.
The private company that operates the system gets 40 percent of the revenue. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports (http://cin.ci/RwcKbG) that the village could reap more than $415,000 in the first month.
Optotraffic LLC, based in Lanham, Md., says it has other customers in Ohio, but that Elmwood Place may be the first in the Cincinnati region to use the automated speed camera system.
“It’s new. We’re the first,” Peskin said. “But we won’t be the last.”