State appeals court upholds Ohio camera law requiring police

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A state appeals court has rejected a western Ohio city’s challenge to new rules that require a police officer to be present when an automated camera is used to issue traffic tickets.

The law took effect last year. Springfield is among several cities challenging it, claiming it violates cities’ authority to enforce local traffic laws. The city has now lost rulings in Clark County and the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Dayton.

“The Ohio Constitution clearly gives cities the right to make these kinds of decisions,” Springfield Law Director Jerry Strozdas said. “I regret I wasn’t able to persuade the court of appeals of that, and particularly regret the argument I made that was different in the Dayton case was not given greater consideration.”

City officials said they plan to appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, and could join with Dayton in that nearby city’s appeal to Ohio’s highest court, The Springfield News-Sun reported.

The state Supreme Court has twice upheld municipalities’ authority to use automated camera enforcement. Some communities work around the new restrictions by equipping officers with hand-held cameras.

Springfield suspended its red light camera program about a year ago, when the new law went into effect. If the program is disbanded entirely, the city stands to lose approximately $250,000 in revenue per year.

Springfield has amassed an estimated total of $3.4 million in fines since the cameras were first installed in 2006.