ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio - A technical glitch provided an early Christmas present for 478 people who appealed the speeding tickets they received via Elmwood Place robo-cameras.
The tickets were dismissed and none of the people in Saturday's Mayor's Court will have to pay the controversial $105 fine.
An additional 308 citations were dismissed Wednesday, for a total of 786.
Police Chief William Peskin said the problem occurred when a Motorola electronic tablet simply wouldn't power up. It contained all the data sent from the Maryland company that oversees camera operations.
"It's a paperless system, so we just couldn't draw up our evidence," he said. "The Magistrate (Mossimino Ioanna) thought it would be best, since everyone showed up, to find everybody not liable."
Attorney Mike Allen, who is seeking a court order to shut down the entire camera program, called it the right move. The dismissal affected betwen 80 and 100 of his clients.
A hearing on Allen's request for a temporary restraining order was set for Wednesday before Judge Robert Ruehlman, but has been rescheduled for January 2nd.
Meanwhile, a new tablet is on order and should be in hand before the next Mayor's Court session.
Since the camera program began, Chief Peskin said over 14,000 citations have been processed, netting the village $470,000 in new revenue.
Councilmembers are developing lists of ways the money can be spent.
Jerald Robertson said that while there is plenty of old village equipment that needs to be replaced, he is suggesting such purchases be put on hold.
"Mostly I think we need to save the money and keep ourselves in a decent financial situation for a while," he said.
There are four robo-cameras in the village -- two on Vine Street, one on Township Avenue and the other on
Prosser Avenue. Each street carries a speed limit of 25 miles an hour.
However, Chief Peskin said rumors that people are being cited for going one mile over the limit are simply not true.
"We've set the thresholds at eight miles over in our residential area. It's set for six miles over in the school zone during school hours," he said. "After that, I'm not going to go into it because those speed limits are a bit more liberal."
Since the cameras began operating, the Chief said traffic volume through the village has dropped five percent and the speeds that vehicles are traveling are down 11 percent.
For people complaining that the system isn't fair, he has a ready response.
"Don't speed. It's simple," he said. "The citizens have the power. They have the power to control the program all the way by simply not speeding."
Councilmember Robertson supports the effort, but he said he believes citizens are split on whether it should continue. That's why he's suggesting that the issue be put before voters.
"We're supposedly a democracy," he said. "That's why I'm in favor of putting this on the ballot. Let our citizens decide."
People who've gotten the tickets won't have a say in that vote, unless they live in the village.
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