Red-light camera operator comes under scrutiny

By Derrick Perkins

Redflex Traffic Systems, the vendor for Alexandria’s three red-light cameras, has come under fire after the Chicago Tribune uncovered allegations of bribery linked to the Windy City’s camera-based ticketing system.

A recently released independent audit of Redflex’s Chicago operation revealed the company paid roughly $1.57 million to a consulting firm with ties to the official tasked with overseeing the red-light camera program. A portion of the money likely was intended for the city official, who also received gifts from company employees, the Tribune reported.

The scandal has rocked Chicago and Redflex. The company’s president, chief financial officer and top attorney all resigned in the wake of the investigation, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is cutting ties with Redflex, according to media accounts.

Alexandria partnered with Redflex to reboot its controversial red-light camera program in 2011. Since August of that year, motorists at three city intersections — South Patrick and Franklin streets; South Patrick and Gibbon streets; and Gibbon and Duke streets — caught running a light have received a $50 fine.

While the police department runs the program, Redflex receives a cut of the fines for its part in the operation. In its first six months of operation, the red-light camera program raised nearly $234,000 for city coffers.

Inquiries into whether Port City officials were aware of the bribery allegations were not answered before the Times’ deadline.

Multiple media outlets have reported company officials admitted bribery likely occurred in other municipalities besides Chicago, though none have been specifically named.

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