Smile, you’re on stop-light camera

Sacramento County inks $1.8 million contract to get 25 traffic light cameras up and running

Despite protests from a Southern California-based activist, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 20 awarded a $1.8 million contract to a company that installs traffic light cameras.

Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. had operated the system from 2008 through last Dec. 16. In a memorandum to county officials, Sheriff Scott Jones noted that the vendor that briefly took over the service, Conduent, lost the contract after it “failed to make any of the photo enforcement sites operational.” CBS 13 reported in early August that the cameras had been off for months.

Jones wrote that Redflex’s wiring and infrastructure largely still remains, with the sheriff hoping 25 replacement cameras could be installed within a month. The sheriff asserted that at the 23 intersections with cameras, there were just 40 collisions in 2017.

The board also approved the county operating 11 of the cameras within Sacramento city limits, according to a memorandum between county and city officials.

The new two-year contract with Redflex was delayed by an Aug. 6 email from activist Jim Lissner to county officials, hours before they were originally slated to vote. “The staff report prepared for later today does not mention that in the last month Menlo Park and San Mateo acted … to shut down their Redflex camera programs,” Lissner wrote.

San Mateo discontinued camera use after analysis “showed the program’s safety benefits may be overshadowed by the efforts required to administer it,” a local newspaper reported. Menlo Park Councilman Drew Combs also questioned the benefits. “This is a situation where I don’t think the technology is bringing us to a better place,” Combs said, according to the San Jose Mercury News.