LINNDALE, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered a new push to shut down the traffic cameras in Linndale, Northeast Ohio’s most notorious speed trap.
The I-Team discovered Linndale is collecting millions of dollars a year from speeding tickets. When we told state Representative Tom Patton, he reacted by saying that has to stop.
“Speed cameras are not law enforcement. Speed cameras are not a public safety measure. Speed cameras are only a cash register for the cities or villages involved,” Patton said. “I have four bills I am going to drop that deal with cities and the use of speed cameras.”
For years, we’ve heard drivers call for the Linndale speed cameras to be taken down. So many people pay so much money in fines from tickets issued by the cameras, and many drivers get tickets for cars they don’t own.
The I Team has found, already this year, Linndale has collected $2.3 million from traffic camera fines.
All of that just from people passing through this 25 mph zone in a village of 160 people.
Every time we report on this, we hear drivers say comments such as, “It’s just a money grab.” and, “All about the money.”
Representative Patton has pushed new laws before restricting small towns from existing on fines from speeding tickets.
Now, in light of more digging by the I-Team, Patton plans to draw up a new proposal specifically targeting Linndale.
“Just to keep these guys in line. The one bill says no more than two tickets per resident. That’s one of the bills we are going to try and put forward,” Patton said.
We also took a look at how the small village of Linndale spends all that money collected from all those fines.
Again, only 160 people live there, but the police force has 10 officers. What are those officers doing? We requested Linndale police records.
In the first eight months of the year, the police department said it had only 86 incident reports, but more than 450 traffic cases generated by officers.
In other words, there were hundreds of traffic cases in addition to the speed camera tickets.
“This is just absurd, 10 officers, now they have this cash register running on Bellaire,” Patton said.
We went to see Police Chief Tim Franczak but didn’t get a response.
For comparison, we went to the Lorain County town of Rochester.
Rochester has a population of 170 and an annual budget of around $65,000. Yet, Linndale has a population of 160 with an annual budget of about $2.7 million.
Meanwile, Rochester does not use traffic cameras. The town does not even have its own police force. Instead, Rochester relies on the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office for protection.
Rochester Mayor Cindy Kurpely said, “We don’t have a speed trap. You know, people drive through town. We have two pop machines.”
There’s no telling if Linndale, one day, also will have to rely on money from a pop machine to pay the bills.
Patton has just started drawing up legislation that could make those speed cameras go dark.
He has some of the same questions you have about how much money Linndale collects and how that money gets spent.