Center Point turns off traffic cameras during court dispute
CENTER POINT - AL —
Traffic cameras are becoming a hot topic in the Jefferson County court system. When Center Point put them around the city, they raked in quite a bit of cash, but once drivers started disputing the charges, a legal fight erupted over who handles those cases.
The city simply didn't want a backlog of cases until this makes it out of court, but that's not helping finances. Those traffic cameras brought in quite a bit of revenue, in fact, just since they were installed at the beginning of this year, the city made close to half a million dollars.
Since January, traffic cameras have given Center Point drivers some strong opinions.
"By Jefferson County being short deputies, this really helps because a lot of people do fly upand down through here - it's very dangerous," Ralph Marshall, a Center Point driver said.A company in Phoenix, Arizona records audio and video of violations then mails out citations and out of a handful of cars we stopped, several found a big bill. One driver told us she got four tickets totaling over $400."I got one maybe three or four months ago," James Thornton, a Center Point driver said.But when a few drivers decided to dispute their tickets, the city found an even bigger problem. According to state law, tickets must go through a municipal court, but Center Point doesn't have one."Somehow it got mixed up and they're trying to make a decision on where the appeals go," Mayor Tom Henderson, Center Point said.Now a Jefferson County District Judge must decide who handles the citations. Because of the big dispute, the city decided to shut off the cameras to keep all the traffic tickets from piling up, but when drivers heard the news, moving violations started going up."The speeding has picked back up again on the parkway," Mayor Henderson said.
"We just wait. When the courts decide on what they're going to do, then we'll know what we have to do to move forward, Mayor Henderson said."A lot of people really speed around here and it really helps to know whether the cameras door do not work, it really does help," Marshall said.