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Cameras a green light for revenue?

Some area police officials dubious of state proposal

Gov. Deval Patrick has filed a bill that would allow communities to install red light cameras that would impose fines on violating motorists. Ryan Grannan-Doll. (click for larger version)
November 08, 2009
Motorists sometimes blow through red lights believing nobody is watching, but a watchful set of automated eyes could make drivers reconsider the risk.

Towns, if they voted to accept legislation Gov. Deval Patrick proposed last month, would be allowed to install red light cameras at intersections. Drivers would be fined up to $100, if camera photographed them driving past red lights. The money would go back to the town.

The fines would not become part of a motorist's driving record and would not be used to compute insurance rates, according to the legislation. Signs notifying motorists of the cameras' presence would have to be posted.

The idea has area police chiefs expressing both opposition and support for the idea. Sturbridge Police Chief Thomas Ford said he does not support the idea if the premise is to generate money for a community.

"We're a public safety entity, not a revenue producing entity," he said. "That would certainly defeat our function as a police department if all we were known as was a revenue producer."

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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