Cincinnati ponders implementing speed cameras to keep pedestrians safer

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 19:11:22-04

CINCINNATI — The city will soon ask for contractors' input on a proposal to implement police officer-held speed enforcement cameras.

According to a request for information document obtained by WCPO, city officials are seeking "information on alternative methods of traffic law enforcement including but not limited to Fixed, Transportable, Mobile, and Handheld camera solutions" in the wake of "mounting traffic and pedestrian safety concerns."

City Councilman Greg Landsman first proposed exploring the use of camera-supported traffic enforcement technology in January, after 2018 saw a record number of crashes involving pedestrians throughout Cincinnati.

RELATED: What can crash data tell us about preventing more pedestrian deaths?

Landsman filed a motion Jan. 7 calling on the administration to explore the feasibility of implementing a "Vision Zero" approach to the pedestrian safety problem, including the appointment of a pedestrian safety manager, increasing the amount of capital funding for pedestrian safety improvements and exploring speed cameras.

Later that month, Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac wrote to City Council that "current increased (traffic) enforcement efforts have not yielded the desired results in terms reducing serious injury and fatal crashes" and called officer hand-held speed cameras a "promising piece of technology."

"There’s physically not enough manpower to cover all of these streets," Isaac wrote in the Jan. 22 memo.

The city charter currently prohibits the use of camera technology for traffic enforcement.

As WCPO previously reported, speed cameras could come with some legal entanglements. The Ohio Supreme Court has found some previous attempts by other Ohio cities to install fixed red light and speed cameras unconstitutional.

The legal question arises from a cited driver's constitutional right to due process and to face his or her accuser, Ohio trial attorney Steve Magas told WCPO in March. Fixed cameras do not require a sworn officer to witness the alleged infraction personally.

In 2013, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman ruled fixed, unmanned speed cameras unconstitutional. Similar rulings have since come down in the village of New Miami. More recently, though, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that speed cameras in Dayton do not require an officer to personally witness the infraction.

READ MORE: Cincinnati is considering speed cameras, but are they legal?

The request for information document emphasizes that it is not a request for competitive bids from relevant tech manufacturers. It asks respondents to provide:

  • company contact information and details
  • description of the company's experience with these sorts of services
  • company references
  • estimates for potential revenue generation and associated costs, including service fees paid back to the company providing the devices
  • a timeline for implementation

The city will be accepting informational packets from contractors July 21 through July 26.