Tax dollars may have funded portion of overtime for red-light camera work, city says news dentonrc.com origin electricity login

This is important because, under the old timekeeping system, only drivers who paid their $75 red-light camera tickets funded overtime for reviewing red-light camera videos. Those fees went into the traffic safety fund, which in turn paid for the officers’ work.

“We are planning to do a reconciliation of our payroll records to make that determination and correct any misapplied overtime expenses,” Puente said. “This issue is related to our automated timekeeping system, which we are also reviewing to correct going forward.” A tangled issue

Red-light cameras were first installed in Denton in 2006, the year after the city entered into a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems. The cameras, which now are installed at 11 intersections in Denton, run 24 hours per day and take photographs and a short video of vehicles that run red lights.

Since the early stages of the program, officers could use only overtime to review red-light camera videos. Police overtime is typically paid out of the general fund, but overtime on red-light camera work is supposed to come out of the traffic safety fund, Puente said. The officers earn time-and-a-half for that work.

A red-light camera and a warning sign are shown near the intersection of Loop 288 and northbound Interstate 35E. The city of Denton has installed 13 red-light cameras at 11 intersections since the city first entered into a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems in 2005. From 2014 to 2016, after the city installed cameras at five more intersections, Denton Assistant Police Chief Scott Fletcher accrued more than $120,000 in overtime from the red-light camera fund. Jeff Woo/DRC file photo

In Plano, where 25 cameras are located at 17 intersections, police department spokesman David Tilley said the city pays for two full-time positions out of the general fund to review all red-light camera videos. If those officers need help, then any officers working light duty — which usually involves administrative tasks — help with video reviews.

“They’re more trained on what to look for,” he said. “There’s more consistency, and what I mean by consistency is, if you’ve got that one that’s really close, they throw those out. Because unfortunately, we get so many of these that we don’t even have to mess with the ones that are close. … There’s some controversy over these anyway.”

Tilley is referring to the recent pushes in the state Legislature to ban red-light camera programs. Opponents claim the cameras violate due process of law, increase the chances of rear-end accidents and function as a money grab for local municipalities.

He added that his officers aren’t working inordinate hours of overtime on red-light camera reviews. They work up to five hours a week certifying violations, he said. In Denton, Fletcher charged 28 hours of overtime to the traffic safety fund in two consecutive two-week pay periods in 2016, records show.

“The Legislature doesn’t like it anyway, and every time it comes up for debate, we have to go in and testify as to why it’s a good program,” Barger said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about public safety. And when people do stuff like that, it ends up looking like more of a money grab instead of a safety issue.”