I-Team: Why are Newburgh Heights officers still clocking drivers during health crisis?

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NEWBURGH HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW)-- The FOX 8 I-Team is investigating why a local police department still has officers standing along a highway using speed cameras to ticket drivers even in the middle of nationwide health crisis with many people out of work.

You’ll notice a big drop in traffic on Interstate 77. But you’ll also notice what hasn’t changed. Newburgh Heights police are still clocking speeders with cameras and sending out tickets with $150 fines.

The I-Team and some drivers are wondering why?

“But they don’t care about some people that don’t have no job or whatever. I think it’s sad. I think it’s pathetic because I think they’re money hungry," one woman said.

So we contacted Newburgh Heights Mayor Trevor Elkins to find out why his town still has police issuing tickets with speed cameras.

"Our job and goal is to continue to maintain the public safety. That doesn‘t end or change in a period of crisis or emergency," Elkins said.

The mayor said, sure, there’s less traffic now on I-77, but with that, more people are now speeding. Police won’t let up because so many people are out of work.

In fact, Wednesday, we saw a guy with a speed camera watching northbound traffic. At the same time, we saw a police car facing traffic southbound.

"My wife was laid off yesterday. So this has hit home. I understand exactly how this is. It’s not an excuse to ignore a law," Elkins said.

Drivers get camera tickets in the mail a week or two after they get caught. So, we also asked what difference does that make out here on the highways right now? If more people are speeding with less traffic, those drivers won’t even know for a long time they got busted.

The mayor said he thinks this is still effective. He points out no one gets a ticket in Newburgh Heights from a speed camera until driving at least 14 miles over the speed limit. Police there said they regularly clock drivers at more than 100 mph.

“You get the citation, you learn, ‘I can’t speed,'" Elkins said.

Still, some drivers said they believe in a national crisis with much of society shut down, it’s time to give the cameras a break.

Meantime, we also checked with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. State troopers, of course, deal face to face with drivers issuing tickets and more.

The Ohio Highway Patrol said in light of the health crisis, troopers are now only going after the most dangerous drivers causing the most immediate risk to the public.

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