Youngstown police make case for speed cameras, which could be taken away

Local News

The police chief says speed cameras have improved traffic safety in the city and helped his department

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many of you have gotten a surprise speeding ticket in the mail after driving through Youngstown. Now, city leaders have to decide if the police department can continue using speed cameras.

Youngstown began the speed camera program in 2015. Since then, police say accidents on the freeway have dropped by about 30%.

“Losing speed cameras will be a severe impact on the safety of the freeway,” said Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees. “No one will argue the point that traffic has slowed down.”

Lees said there was a two-year period where there were no deadly crashes.

“Honestly, it’s safer for us to do the enforcement this way,” Lees said. “Speed cameras allow the officer to be off on the side or on an overpass so they’re not out, they’re actively chasing gun violators, having to pull them over.”

Lees said these cameras were not placed randomly throughout the city, but there’s a purpose for each location.

“We only use them in two places. On that freeway — and, again, because of the number of accidents we’ve had — and in school zones for the safety of kids.”

He said the revenue that comes from the speed cameras primarily goes into their fleet.

“It’s been a big help to the police department as far as equipping the officers and providing them, again, with decent vehicles to go out there and work every day.”

Overall, Lees said this has been a great program and he believes shutting down the speed cameras will have an adverse effect — both on the ability to provide equipment for officers and on the safety of the community.

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