Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kenneth City plans to install red light cameras

KENNETH CITY — It's a small town with a big reputation for cracking down on traffic scofflaws.

Now Kenneth City, with 4,500 residents and all of five traffic lights, plans to be the first place in the county to use cameras to catch red light runners.

A council vote last week began a process that could take four to six months before cameras are installed at up to four signals. The intersections under consideration are at 54th Avenue N and 58th Street, 54th Avenue N and 62nd Street, 66th Street and 46th Avenue N, and 58th Street and 46th Avenue N.

The town plans to hire American Traffic Solutions of Scottsdale, Ariz., to run the program. The cameras would take pictures of vehicles as they cross the intersection, and ATS employees would scan the photos and send the possible violations to the Kenneth City Police Department. The police would decide whether a violation had occurred and notify the driver.

The penalty for running a red light is stiff — a $231 fine and a requirement that the driver attend a four-hour driver improvement course. Kenneth City pockets only $16.76 of each fine. The remainder goes to other fees, including court costs, criminal justice education and a driver education safety trust fund.

In making the decision to use cameras, Kenneth City has put itself on the cutting edge of traffic enforcement in Pinellas. Other governments have considered installing the cameras but all have backed off.

"Right now, we don't support it," Pinellas County sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.

Barreda noted that many of the companies that supply the cameras take a cut of the ticket proceeds. ATS is one of those. Barreda also noted that a number of municipalities that have installed them are facing lawsuits.

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds said the idea has been discussed at the staff level in his city, but has never gone further.

"We think an equal or even better deterrent is the visibility of police presence," Edmunds said.

Pinellas Park also decided to forego the cameras. Mayor Bill Mischler said council members were dissuaded in part by the time delay between the offense and the ticket. If a motorist runs a light, he said, and is immediately given a ticket, that acts as a deterrent. But if a motorist runs a light and is unaware of the ticket, he may continue to run the light and end up with multiple citations before he knows he has broken the law.

"I think (the technology's) still too much in the development phase," Mischler said. In the future, however, Pinellas Park could change its position if red light running becomes a major issue.

Kenneth City Mayor Pro Tem Teresa Zemaitis said the decision is one of safety, not revenue.

However, of the 62 accidents in the town last year, according to Police Chief Doug Pasley, only one involved a red light violation.

On the other hand, statistics from the state highway department show that Kenneth City issued 293 tickets for running red lights in 2008. Only 12 were dismissed, leaving Kenneth City to receive the revenue from the remaining 281. That would be about $4,709 for Kenneth City's coffers.

Reach Anne Lindberg at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Kenneth City plans to install red light cameras 11/25/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:56am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mom accused of burying guns after fatal teen shooting declines plea deal


    TAMPA — The Valrico mother accused of hiding the guns after her teenage son shot and killed another boy in their garage told a judge Tuesday that she wants a trial, not a plea deal.

    Heidi Quinn is accused of hiding two guns after her son, Cody, fatally shot 17-year-old Jayquon Johnson in their garage. She faces charges of tampering with evidence. Her son was not charged in Johnson's death because authorities ruled it self-defense. He does face related drug charges. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Stone says no coordination between Trump campaign and Russia

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Donald Trump associate Roger Stone said Tuesday he's "aware of no evidence whatsoever" that Trump's campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election.

  3. Pasco deputies: Citgo gas station was selling pipes for crack and meth


    TRILBY — A Citgo gas station is facing hefty fines after Pasco County Sheriff's deputies said clerks weren't just selling gas, but doling out pipes for crack and meth.

  4. What to expect from the Florida Orchestra's 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' show


    With just a few short tings from the celesta, a small piano-style instrument, and you're instantly transported to Harry Potter's wizarding world.

    Courtesy of the Straz Center
  5. Police: Boy, 12, burglarized Melrose Elementary during Hurricane Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — A 12-year-old boy is facing a felony charge after police say he burglarized Melrose Elementary while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma.

    Melrose Elementary at 1752 13th Ave. S in St. Petersburg was burglarized while the school was closed for Hurricane Irma. A 12-year-old boy has been charged, police said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]