Elmwood Place speed cameras back in use?

CINCINNATI - Are the controversial speed cameras on Township Avenue in Elmwood Place being used again?

Despite a ruling from the court saying enforcement from the village's speed cameras is illegal, distrust of the police and council is keeping some residents on edge.

9 On Your Side spoke to residents who were concerned the cameras were turned back on. They said they did not want to be identified because they feared retribution from the police department.

In March, a Hamilton County judge ruled that the village ordinance that allowed Elmwood Place to install controversial speed cameras was unenforceable and violated motorists' due process.

The ruling passed down by Judge Robert Ruehlman granted a permanent injunction and prohibited further use of the cameras.

Judge Ruehlman called the village's traffic camera system a game that Optotraffic, the company that operates the cameras, has a financial stake in.

Police Chief William Peskin and a maintenance person told 9 On Your Side the cameras are not operating.

However, the lasers near the top of the masts are still collecting traffic data. Chief Peskin says the data is only being used for counting the number of cars driving up and down the streets.

Optotraffic released a statement Friday that echoes the statement by Chief Peskin.

"The Village of Elmwood Place is currently collecting data on traffic volume and speeds," said Tim Ayers, who spoke on behalf of the company. "No photos are being taken, no license plates recorded and no citations are being issued through the use of the automated speed enforcement cameras."

Peskin says the rumor about speed cameras came from residents seeing an Optotraffic employee replacing a laser sensor for car counting.

Some, however, are still worried.

"They (residents) are afraid that Elmwood is collecting that data, and in the unlikely event that the Court of Appeals overturns Judge Ruehlman, that they will then issue citations," said attorney Mike Allen.

He said he's considering filing a contempt of court motion to decide if having the electricity going to the unit is illegal. Based on the judge's ruling, if the equipment is in use, it's considered contempt of court.

"We're thinking about filing a motion for contempt, because Judge Ruehlman was very clear in his ruling...that those cameras were supposed to be shut down, period," said Allen.

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