New robo-cameras in New Miami have some residents upset over what they perceive as a moneymaking venture by local police.
Automated speed cameras have appeared in New Miami.
NEW MIAMI, Ohio - New Miami resident Gilbert Wyatt isn't one to mince words.
"It's a speed trap if ever there was one," Wyatt said about the new automated speed cameras parked on Hamilton-Eaton Road at the village boundary. Wyatt is so angry about it, he's warning drivers about this latest addition to the local roadways."You just got a ticket, you know that, don't you?" he asked a driver who stopped when he saw Wyatt on the side of the road.Automated cameras are becoming popular with some cash-strapped governments in the Tri-State.New Miami's camera units are from the same Maryland company that provided cameras to Elmwood Place in September.Speed sensitive cameras take pictures of speeding cars and license plates. The information the cameras collect is sent via satellite to a Maryland-based company called Optotraffic. The company processes the information, sends it to the local police department for approval, and the registered owner of the car gets a fine in the mail from out of state.
The equipment and paperwork are all handled by Optotraffic.
The village gets 60 percent of all the revenue the cameras bring in, making it an easy method of speed control and generating money."It sounds illegal," driver Rick Penner said. "I'm sure if the county would be sending me something to go to court, then I'll be more than happy to pay it at that time."Short of that happening, Penner said he will "just tear it up."It's not like New Miami has much of a police force to handle speeders.Other than its chief, the entire department is made up of 19 unpaid volunteers in the community of 2,500 people that is located just north of Hamilton.New Miami Police Chief Kenny Cheek said the machines on Highway 127 issued about 1,000 fines in the first week of operation. Proof, Cheek says, there is a speeding problem.
"It's doing what we wanted it to do," Cheek said.
He says all of the tickets are for $95, regardless of how much over the speed limit a car was traveling at the time of an offense.
The village gets $57 of that total.
Cheek says the cameras are activated when a vehicle is 11 miles per hour over the limit.
He denies the machines are there to generate revenue, even though new money is streaming in to their general fund.
Drivers who wish to contest the citations have to contact Optotraffic.
Currently, there are three machines deployed in New Miami; two on 127, and one on Hamilton-Eaton Road.
The chief says the latter will soon be moved to a new location.