CINCINNATI - The Elmwood Place Council got an earful at its Tuesday night meeting from several dozen drivers who had gotten $105 tickets under the town's new automated speeding camera system.
It's part of the continuing controversy over the new ticket cameras that first erupted this past summer when the initial tickets started going out in the mail to motorists.
Almost every seat in the council chambers was taken with angry motorists who felt the tickets were too expensive, unfairly issued from a private company they didn't know, or given to them when they didn't speed.
Many drivers at the council meeting questioned the private company running the ticketing system.
"They're not very efficient and they're not exactly accurate from what I understand. A lot of places have suspended their contracts for that reason for clocking people over the speed limit when they were, in fact, going under the speed limit itself," said University of Cincinnati student Danielle Raines, who got two tickets in Elmwood Place costing her $210.
"I'm mostly concerned about the fact that these become a third party issue in that you are expecting people to just send their money to Cleveland, which then, they send to Arizona and as I understand it, you guys get whatever is left," said Randall Kent, who intends to fight his $105 ticket.
Elmwood Police Chief William Peskin says the speeding ticket system is set not to give tickets to drivers travelling less than eight mph over the 25 mph speed limit, and six mph above the school zone speed limit of 20 mph. But several motorists say they got speeding tickets for traveling at as little as one mph over a speed limit.
A representative of Optotraffic, the company that runs Elmwood Place's speeding cameras, says his firm has never been dismissed from an automated speeding ticket contract with a community.
"Not a single ticket is ever issued without being reviewed by an officer and that's after it's been reviewed by technicians, checked with the DMV, license plates looked up. There are many safeguards in place," said Mickey Shepherd, an Optotraffic account manager.
Some motorists even argued with Police Chief Peskin over whether the automated speeding tickets were even legal.
Many of the the drivers at the meeting said their questions were not answered. Some intend to fight the tickets at administrative hearings with the Elmwood Place police chief.
Others said they were looking into a filing a class action lawsuit against the town to protest how automated speeding cameras are being used in Elmwood Place.