LAKELAND - You can add a new name to the list of cities that want to expand its red light camera program.
Friday morning, the City of Lakeland held a work study to explore the issue of adding 15 more cameras to the existing nine.
“It’s about public safety, without a doubt,” said Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields. “It’s not about the money, we want people to obey the traffic laws and stop at red lights.”
So far, the city has had success with its current web of cameras, which aligns with a new FHP study that says the vast majority of red light camera cities report fewer crashes.
“I think expanding the red light program is going to give us another one of those tools to make the roads safer,” said Officer Scott Wisneski, the person who looks at every violation and decides whether it’s worth a ticket.
On Friday, he and the department recommended to the commission to purchase the 15 new cameras at the busiest and most accident prone intersections that don’t already have one.
“Are we in danger of becoming-- having the reputation of a speed trap city?” Asked Commission Don Selvage.
Some commissioners expressed concerns about the expansion plan, but no one seemed to outright oppose the idea.
“Traditionally the answer was just flood the streets with more cops,” Wisneski said. “Unfortunately in today’s times we don’t have the resources or the financial ability to do that.”
While there are still plenty who disagree with the eyes in the sky, Mayor Fields says more people are warming up to it, especially as the evidence keeps getting stronger.
The commission decided to hold off on a decision until after it hears from the public.
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