Gurnee board to vote on extending red-light camera contract

Gurnee village board trustees will be asked to decide on a controversial company's proposed contract extension to keep red-light cameras running.

At a village board meeting Monday, Police Chief Kevin Woodside reviewed Gurnee's red-light camera program and the offer from Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. Woodside said transparency, integrity and customer service have been hallmarks of the village's handling of the red-light cameras since they were turned on in July 2009.

Woodside said Gurnee's five intersections with the cameras have become safer. The number of people injured in crashes fell from 44 in 2009 to a low of 24 in 2013.

Gurnee trustees are expected to decide next month whether to grant a five-year contract extension to Redflex that would start in July. The company would receive $442,800 annually for upgraded high-definition cameras and other services for nine intersection approaches.

Despite Redflex's bribery scandal in Chicago, Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik and Woodside said they have confidence in staying with the company because of its good history with the village. One of Gurnee's Redflex contacts is retired Carol Stream Police Chief Rick Willing.

Kovarik said Gurnee has internal controls that come into play for contracted services.

"Redflex has recognized that they had some internal policies and procedures that need to be tightened up, and they've made some changes on their side," Kovarik said. "We weren't concerned because, again, we have checks and balances in how we go about selecting a vendor, how we measure the performance of that vendor, who's involved. There's no opportunity for shenanigans with the due diligence that we do, both internally and externally, in selecting a vendor or deciding to stay with a vendor."

Citing the bribery controversy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled the city's Redflex contract in 2013. Last December, former Redflex employee Martin O'Malley pleaded guilty in federal court to passing cash and perks to a former Chicago official, John Bills, who also was charged in the case and has denied accusations against him.

Redflex representatives didn't return a message for comment Tuesday.

In his presentation before the Gurnee village board, Woodside displayed statistics showing red-light camera net revenue has declined from a high of $911,494 in the 2010-11 budget year to a low of $411,320 in 2014-15.

Of 23,632 red-light camera activations at five intersections reviewed by Gurnee police last year, officers authorized 9,286 citations, the fewest since the program launched in 2009.

"If it's a ticket (an officer) wouldn't write on the street, don't write that ticket on what you saw in the video," Woodside said.

Trustee Don Wilson complimented Woodside for his presentation and indicated he'll support the Redflex contract when it's up for a vote in June.

"I do believe that it is in the spirit of safety that you manage this," Wilson told Woodside.

Gurnee's contract with Redflex wouldn't cost the village more than it receives in fines.

  Gurnee trustees are expected to vote next month on whether to extend its red-light camera contract with RedFlex Traffic Systems Inc. The village has cameras at five intersections, including this one at eastbound Washington Street at Hunt Club Road. Bob Susnjara/
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.