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Upon further review, video constantly flows from Gurnee red light cams
By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 5/15/2009 3:46 PM

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Gurnee police are tweaking their public presentations on red-light cameras so those in attendance know the devices are constantly providing a live video feed of intersections.

At the first of three forums on photo enforcement Wednesday, part of the evening at village hall featured what was called fact and fiction about the cameras. The concept of the cameras running at all times was listed as fiction.

In response to audience questions, the crowd was told the cameras are asleep and activate only when a vehicle drives through a red light.

But Gurnee police crime prevention technician Tom Agos, who led the presentation, said he later inquired with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. and received clarification on the cameras. Gurnee will pay $38,000 a month to Redflex for coverage at four intersections, with the system set to go live later this month.

Agos said a high-resolution, digital still camera is triggered only when a vehicle runs a red light at an intersection, capturing a rear license plate in the process.

Redflex also has a low-resolution, streaming video feed of intersections that always runs but isn't supposed to capture images of red-light violators. Agos said that information will become part of the next two photo enforcement forums and noted on Gurnee's Web site.

"We wanted to get some clearer language for our public presentations," Agos said Friday.

Streaming video from red-light cameras is opposed by an anti-photo-enforcement group that contends 24-hour-a-day surveillance of the public is unwarranted.

"Can you remember where you were driving two years ago?" CameraFRAUD volunteer James DeCash wrote in an e-mail. "Redflex can, and if the video is subpoenaed in court, you might have some explaining to do about where you were, what you were doing and who you were associating with."

CameraFRAUD started in the Phoenix area and now has chapters in Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. The organization has plans for branches to fight red-light cameras in Illinois, Florida and Missouri.

Redflex spokeswoman Shoba Vaitheeswaran refused to answer a question about the streaming video Friday.

"Please direct this inquiry to the city," she wrote in an e-mail. "Thank you."

Red-light camera video was cited this week in an investigation that cleared a Palatine police officer of wrongdoing in a crash involving his squad car and a pedestrian. The incident occurred at 3:22 a.m. May 2 at Rand and Dundee roads.