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Police Feeling Effects of Prop 3 Defeat

The Houston Police Department is already feeling the effects of not having red light cameras. The red light fines brought in 10-million dollars to the police department each year. Bill Stamps has more.



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“There’s really little I can do to make up for the budget shortfall, because as you know HPD is not an enterprise generating entity.”

As he talks Police Chief Charles McClelland, like Mayor Parker, doesn’t hide his frustration with Houston voters for not passing proposition three, which would have kept red light cameras turned on in Houston.

And while the city and the company that makes the red light cameras go back and forth in court over the legality of turning the cameras off, McClelland has his own camera-related problems to deal with, specifically, what does he do now if those intersections are as dangerous as he said they were before the election?

“I still have to do traffic enforcement at dangers intersections, because people that run red lights and stop signs cause property damage, injuries and deaths.”

With the city in a budget crunch Mayor Parker has promised not to touch the police and fire departments when making decisions about downsizing. Still. Chief McClelland has a dilemma. If he replaces the red light cameras with real officers, then he has to pull officers from other areas.

“I don’t have additional police officers in waiting, or that I can just now reassign from other areas of the department to do that. I have to use my existing resources, so if I now I have police officers that have to physically watch dangerous intersections, they can’t do other things: chase the burglars, the hijackers. We just have to do more with less.”

McClelland didn’t say from what departments or divisions he plans to pull those additional officers. He did, however, make it clear that those intersections will be watched and said motorists who think they can now run red lights and get away with it had better think again.

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