AKRON, Ohio – The city’s portable speed enforcement cameras are off the streets as Summit County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Teodosio answers a court decision reversing one issued by him last April.
Teodosio ruled last year that regulations imposed by state lawmakers, including the requirement to have a police officer physically present when each of the cameras is used, are unconstitutional.
With that ruling, Akron rolled out their portable cameras at the beginning of the school year.
The portable cameras are rotated through school zones in the city.
But the state appealed Teodosio’s decision and in December the 9th district court of appeals issued a ruling saying the trial court (Judge Teodosio) erred and reversed his judgement.
The appeals court sent the matter back to Teodosio so he could be more clear about his decision.
And with that ruling the city removed the cameras from the streets, if only temporarily.
“The city made a decision when the school year resumed last month to suspend operations of the cameras and to re-evaluate that decision on a week-to-week basis. So as of right now the system in the school zones, the photo speed enforcement has been suspended,” explained Assistant Akron City Law Director Christopher Reece.
But the city has always defended the portable cameras, which are only operated in school zones at the beginning and at the end of the school day, as a safety measure.
“Speaking on a personal basis, I travel through three different school zones on my way to and from work. In the past, before we had the cameras, cars would drive past me. I'd drive 20 miles per hour, they would drive past me 30-35 miles an hour. Now that we have the cameras people slow down,” said Akron Police Lieutenant Richard Decatur, who supervises the program.
The city contracts the cameras with a company called American Traffic Solutions which actually does all of the setup and movement of the cameras, and is paid a part of the fines.
Some who live near schools believe the cameras serve a valuable purpose.
"I would say (people drive) about 35-40 (through a 20 mile per hour school zone) until they see that camera. They see that speed camera, then they slow down,” said Tim Gibson.