I-TEAM: Where to watch out for police with traffic cameras

CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found police clocking speeders with traffic cameras on a new stretch of I-77.

Now, you’ll often find Newburgh Heights Police looking down from the ramp to Fleet Avenue on the border with Cleveland.

The I-TEAM investigated after multiple drivers sent us pictures of an officer there with a speed camera, asking us to investigate.

Newburgh Heights Police had often monitored speeders with a camera from the Harvard Avenue bridge over I-77, but that has been torn down to be rebuilt.  We found that has led to the enforcement just up the highway.

The cameras record the speeds of cars and snap pictures. Then, drivers get tickets in the mail.

Many drivers don’t like the traffic cameras and they don’t like the new location used by Newburgh Heights Police.

One driver told us, "Well he's hiding. Out of sight."

Another said, “Hate it. Hate it. Do something about it."

And still another reacted, "They just trying to make money. They have him on the side up the ramp."

The I-TEAM reported the very first story revealing the traffic cameras in this town way back in 2015. Since then, we've shared all the arguments over this topic and added up the tickets and fines.

So, after this most recent incident, we went to the mayor.

We asked Mayor Trevor Elkins what he would say to drivers feeling they’re being gouged for more money.

He answered, “Well, my question is, ‘Which party is breaking the law?’"

The mayor said there’s nothing slick about putting an officer at a new spot on the highway. He said police often move the officer to side streets, too. And, in Newburgh Heights, drivers only get camera tickets if they’re caught going at least 14 miles over the speed limit.

The mayor also pointed out that Newburgh Heights has had officers hit and injured while doing traffic patrols on the highway.

Yet, we’ve reported before Newburgh Heights collects about $2.5 million a year from traffic camera fines. Is this really about safety?

We asked if Newburgh Heights has done any recent studies showing the impact of the program on safety.

Elkins said, "We have not done a recent study." But, he added, "We can see people, there's a visible slowdown of the speeds"

And he said, "Don't like getting a ticket? Follow the speed limit."

Seems nobody likes any ticket, and now, there’s a new reason to watch out driving on I-77.

Another driver reacted, “I think they’re just doing a money grab.”

This comes as we’ve seen a growing push statewide to ban traffic cameras.

We’re keeping an eye on that to see if lawmakers start to take action.

Continuing coverage, here.

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