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Metro Council could re-evaluate city-parish red light camera program

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BATON ROUGE - In the 13 years since the city-parish installed red light cameras, tickets have generated nearly $30 million in revenue.

That money was handed over begrudgingly for the most part, and sometimes not at all.

The $117 tickets often show up in driver's mail boxes by surprise and go directly into trash cans as indignant offenders point to failed red light camera enforcement in New Orleans and Lafayette.

Though, there is a key difference between the Baton Rouge red light ticket program and some others: an actual police officer reviews footage of every violation.

However, questions about their enforceability still remain.

"Well, we have worked on that," said Darryl Gissel, the city-parish Chief Administrative Officer. "There are changes we are trying to make to the program so that they are enforceable."

Nevertheless, the city-parish is declaring the program a success, particularly when it comes to repeat offenders.

"We find that if people get one ticket and they pay the ticket that there's about an 80 percent chance that they won't get a second or third ticket, so the recidivism rate is really low. It does get people's attention of what they've done and it really does change behavior," Gissel said.

Also, with recent technological advancements, the cameras can do more than just nail you for turning right on red.

"We have the red light cameras at 15 intersections and we do have the ability to expand the program. In addition to doing traffic, BRPD does have access to those cameras too so it does help us with crime activity too."

In May, a state appeal court ruled that the cameras were constitutional.

The metro-council could still vote to remove them at any time.

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