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New red-light camera contract could give city-parish enforceability option

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BATON ROUGE -- The East Baton Rouge Metro Council gave the green-light to a four-year extension for the red-light camera program Tuesday night. The program has been around for eleven years already, with the new contract running through 2023. 

 The current contract allows the company that owns and operates the cameras to deal with the collection of tickets fines.

 "Right now it's a voluntary collection of sorts," Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel, said. "It doesn't go against credit bureau."

 However, the new contract gives the city-parish a self-collection option.

 "Some of the councilmembers feel it's not fair some people pay and some people don't," Gissel said. "It's really the same thing we face with any fine or fee."

 Before red-light tickets can start being enforced, the current ordinance would have to be tweaked. How, or even if to do that, is a conversation currently happening inside the mayor's office.

 "There's a question of whether we can change the ordinance where we would actually go through a full court process where you would issue a judgment that would be enforceable in terms of collection," Gissel said.

 The Parish Attorney's Office is already looking into that process. But Gissel says even without enforcing drivers to pay red-light ticket fines, the program serves as a deterrent. 

 The new contract also includes upgrades to the current cameras, including giving law enforcement real-time access to video footage.

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