Southland city removes red light cameras after 'rear end collisions have actually increased'
By Martin Hill
November 5, 2009

Two southland cities have terminated their contracts with red light camera vendors and removed the cameras in recent months, after internal reports acknowledged that the use of the cameras were neither effective nor fiscally responsible.

Sgt Matthews of the Upland Police Dept. said they terminated the contract with Redflex and removed the cameras at the end of June. "They were not effective in our city. What matters to us is the effectiveness in the city of Upland." The cameras were "inefective in reducing collisions", which was the point of the cams, he said.

An Upland City Council Committee Report dated April 28, 2008  had previously recommended that the city add two more cameras:

However, a report to the Police and Fire Committee from Upland City Manager Rob Quincey on February 23, 2009 recommended that the city "terminate the contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc."

The report, prepared by Police Chief Steve Adams and Sergeant Eleno Arriaga, stated that "The proposed action will support the City's goal to provide better Police field services and be fiscally responsible to the community."

The report outlined analysis of several issues: the financial feasibility of the cameras, the possible illegality of the contract,  and the fact that  rear end collissions have actually increased.

Richard Eden, Chief Financial officer of Redlex, had sent a letter to Sgt John Poole of the Upland Police Dept. in December 2005 outlining changes to their agreement:, which opposes the cameras and offers a vast library of information to motorists, points out that under California Vehicle Code Section 21455.5(g)(1), which went into effect effective Jan. 1, 2004, pay per ticket contracts between cities and red light camera vendors are illegal: goes on to point out that "The author of 21455.5 wrote:
"Paying red light camera vendors [suppliers] based on the number of tickets issued undermines the public's trust and raises concern that these systems can be manipulated for profit."

(Official comment by Senator - then Assemblywoman - Jenny Oropeza, published in 8/27/03 legislative analysis of AB 1022 of 2003.)

The neighboring city of Montclair also recently announced that they have  terminated their red light camera program., which was administered by Nestor Traffic Systems, Inc..

Sgt. Matthews also answered some questions about motorist checkpoints in the City of Upland, explaining that they don't have a set schedule for checkpoints, but issue a press release to the local paper telling when, but not where, the checkpoints will take place.  DUI checkpoints are combined with drivers license checkpoints, he said, with the goal being "deterence and education".
When asked if it is compulsory for the driver to show their license at the checkpoint, he said yes.

I asked him about an anecdotal story I had heard from a motorist who told me that they were once stopped by the Upland Police and the officer asked if he could look in the driver's car. The driver said no, and the officer allegedly responded that refusal to consent to a search is probable cause. Not commenting on that particular case since he was no familiar with it, Matthews explained that "refusal to consent to a search in and of itself does not equate to probable cause".


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