Winter Springs could see return of red-light cameras



WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - Red-light cameras could be going back up in Winter Springs.

In October WFTV learned that the controversial cameras were quietly taken down following a contract dispute with the vendor.

One of the issues was how much money the vendor got. Now it looks as though city leaders might reverse their decision.

The red-light cameras could soon be back along State Road 434, watching for red-light runners.

"There are other ways for the government to make money. It's not right," said area resident Mike Tucker.

City officials insist the use of the cameras is about safety, not money. That's what Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle told WFTV when the first cameras came down.

"We would rather see zero revenue, but total compliance. That's what our goal was," said Brunelle.

The cameras would do more than just catch red-light violations. So even though cameras would go back up in the same spots watching the same intersections, the cameras would be new technology, giving police new tools.

Where the old cameras clicked away when cars blew through red lights, the new cameras do much more.

For example: If a silver alert is issued the city could turn off red-light enforcement and start scanning cars and license plates for the missing person.

"I think that's a good idea, especially for senior citizens," said resident Tonya Williams.

But others aren't convinced, saying cameras that can grab information, and presumably store it, present a privacy problem.

"There's no reason they need to be able to read every license plate that goes through that intersection," said resident Robby Rogers.

City officials said the first wave of red-light cameras churned out more than 1,000 tickets last year, with the average fine running about $150.

Most of that money was divided up between the state and the company that owns and operates the cameras, according to city officials.