Redding man doubts accuracy of red light cameras


REDDING, Calif. - A Redding man is questioning the accuracy of the red light cameras just after the city renewed their contract with the company that runs the cameras.

Bills and citations are some of the things people dread when checking their mail.

For John Dalton, it was a painful reminder when he found a notice for his son's traffic violation on Father's Day last year.

"He died four years before this incident," Dalton said.

The intersection on Pine and Tehama street in Redding was where they snapped pictures of the driver police believed to be Dalton's son.

"I called [the Redding Police Department] to investigate how they determined it was him. The officer on the phone was very friendly and helpful, but he told me the facial recognition software was very very good, doesn't make mistakes," Dalton said.

Dalton said they used his son's photo ID as a background and determined it was him. He told the officer that was not possible because his son had died.

"At which point he then said, sometimes we make mistakes and the system isn't as perfect as you think it is," Dalton said.

During the Redding City Council meeting Tuesday, Police Chief Rob Paoletti said citations are issued after close examination.

"One of my three red light camera enforcement officers has reviewed the citation, they've reviewed the evidence collected by the system, and they are the ones to determine whether or not the citation is issued," Paoletti said.

"Well, it's obvious, if you're giving tickets to people who have been dead for four years, you've got a problem with the system. And I believe if you're going to take $500 out of somebody's life, you better be right when you do it," Dalton said.

Lt. Brian Barner with Redding Police said there are many steps in place to make sure situations like this don't happen, and the RedFlex Traffic Systems Office at the department is open to the public to observe.

Redding Finance Director Dennice Maxwell said the net revenue the city made from the red light cameras from April 2016 to 2017 was $271,500.

$96,000 of last year's red light revenue was used by the police department to fund their RMS software update, while the rest went towards new patrol vehicles.

Maxwell said this is the first time since the cameras were installed in 2007 the city made money on the system.

With the new contract, the city is saving $1,400 per month on cameras, that's just about $65,000 in savings for the next four years. A cost neutrality clause in the contract basically means the city can't lose money on the deal.

While red light officers had to work more hours due to an increase in violations at Hilltop and Cypress, Redflex had to cover $86,400 of those operating costs.

There are five red light cameras in Redding:

Cypress Avenue and Bechelli Lane Market and Shasta streets Lake Boulevard and North Market Street Pine and Tehama streets Hilltop Drive and Cypress Avenue
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