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Red-light cameras

A nonoperational red-light camera is seen at the intersection of East Central Texas Expressway and Trimmier Road in Killeen on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.

Killeen’s now-defunct red-light enforcement program may have violated state law when city officials did not conduct a sealed traffic engineering study prior to installing cameras at city intersections in 2008.

According to an investigation by NBC-affiliate KXAN in Austin in September, only three of 60 Texas cities with active red-light camera programs performed signed and sealed engineering studies on monitored intersections.

Without a professional engineer’s seal, the programs might violate the Texas Transportation Code and leave cities open to lawsuits to recoup funds gathered through the program.

From 2010 to 2014, the cameras generated $1.4 million in revenue to the city from people who ran the red lights.

The Killeen City Council chose not to renew its contract with Chicago-based Redflex Traffic Systems by a 3-2 consensus in April.

According to Section 707 of the Texas Transportation Code, which became effective Sept. 1, 2007, cities must perform a “traffic engineering study” on specific intersections to determine whether a traffic enforcement program is financially feasible.

The city previously operated cameras at seven intersections along U.S. Highway 190/Interstate 14 feeder roads and the intersection of Trimmier Road and Lowe’s Boulevard.

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Killeen red-light camera locations

This map shows the locations of the seven former red-light camera locations in Killeen. The cameras are no longer active, and were due to be taken down Sept. 30. As of Friday, they were still up.

The camera at the Lowe’s Boulevard intersection and a camera at the intersection of 190 and southbound South W.S. Young Drive were both inoperable at the time the contract was not renewed.

The council approved the Redflex contract by a 6-1 vote in August 2007, directly before the new state law went into effect.

The ordinance gave permission for future city managers to make changes without City Council approval. Former Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison did so on Feb. 5, 2013, in a letter to Karen Finley, the CEO of Redflex, when he extended the contract for four years.

Since the program’s inception in 2008, the city reported a 43 percent decrease in traffic violations at the monitored intersections. The Killeen Police Department received $302,208 from the program in 2016 after it paid the state and Redflex their shares of the money from red-light tickets.

In 2015, the city received $390,733.70.

On Thursday, Killeen Director of Communications Hilary Shine said the city installed the cameras after conducting a traffic study at the chosen intersections through Redflex but had not performed any sealed traffic engineering studies.

In response to the KXAN investigation, state Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, promised to file legislation to ban Texas cities from using red-light cameras to assess a civil fine instead of a criminal traffic charge for running a red light.

“It’s outrageous that so many cities are ignoring Texas law,” Huffines told KXAN.

Although the program is currently inactive, the cameras still stand at all seven Killeen intersections. The equipment was scheduled to be removed by Sept. 30 by Redflex at no cost to the city, according to Shine.

kyleb@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

(7) comments

Downtown1974

Illegal.. illegal.. so then pass another illegal law.. that makes you pay redlight scamra tickets.. to register your car

jcwconsult

Every Texas city that violated the law by not having signed and sealed engineering studies in place before installing red light cameras should have to refund every penny illegally robbed from vehicle owners with those illegal cameras. If that bankrupts some cities, so be it, the cameras were illegal.

James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

THUGNIFICENT KILLED ME

Cut a corner here, ignore a law or two, who are you peasants to mess around in the BITNESS of your BETTERS? Keep yoru eyes in your own naughty business, peons.This is no concern of yours, besides we already got your money, divvied it up with the state and Redflex, now git, before you get got, AGAIN. This is KILLeen where we buy churches if we please, have sex on our desks, plant cameras in ladies restrooms, come up with millions of missing money, your money, and take trips to eat like the bigshots we are. Now, gwan, git, this here's KING of KILLeen and his nobles doing whatever we please, including sexually harassing subordinates and using your money to buy ourselves outta trouble. laws are for you peons, us patrons and jefes does whatever we wants, okay????

Bubba1

May have? Don't you think that should have been settled PRIOR to engaging the program?

Pharon Enochs

The following comments are indeed the opinions of Pharon Enochs It would come as no surprise to me if it was found the apparently illegal gains from the cameras were also not properly used by the city as well. It was the old greed and the failure to heed what the law required by some legal/ administrator within the city. Well so much for a balanced budget but have no fear if I recall correctly Baldwin found five million dollars, perhaps he can find more money. If memory serves me correctly the audit company found there was about 500,000 dollars in an account which did not appear to even be valid so there must be some loose money floating around somewhere. I also recall some folks went to jail from the red light company and perhaps some folks from other cities as well I believe for fraud/bribery. I further recall an announcement was made at one time an investigation revealed no one was involved any illegal acts regarding the red light cameras within the city of Killeen. What I do not believed was revealed who or what agency did the investigation. Perhaps it was the sly old fox which had been guarding the chicken coop. The swamp runs over in Killeen. More drama and denials will soon be coming of this I have no doubt from the city without limits regarding how a city management should not operate. God bless America, President Trump and John Wayne wherever he may be

eyewatchingu

hmm, Their a solution to this. For those that received tickets should note the day and year they were given the ticket. Then they should break down into groups by the year, and sue the council members that held office during those years.
See ignorance of the law is not a defense, when one is voted into council then one should first read that black binder they are given before running, secondly before they vote on something or allow something to stand they should do research. A city council member's job is for all the people, not just for photo op's, and to hang out with their select organizations that they dump money into for votes. Seems many people have gotten an illegal ticket, including my husband. Also do not forget you can sue for the interest on the money as well, along with any undue stress which may have been caused by putting one into financial distress at the time they received or paid the ticket. Also if the ticket ended up causing a person to lose their driving privileges and so on. Amazing time to be an attorney in Killeen Texas, right about now. This would make for a great class action lawsuit against city council members and would actually weed out the corruption of those past and present! FYI any attorney seeking to start a class action suit, I am sure you know tickets are open records, just need cameras location and start with the years they were up and running! I hope all that got screwed by the corrupt city council past and present get every dime and more back.

centexdave

You mean Killeen did a no-no? Hang onto our wallets. Taxes sure to go up once they have to pay back all the money they stole.

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