Hamilton police chief waves hundreds of tickets

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Wednesday night, the Hamilton city council discussed the use of speed cameras throughout the city. The mobile camera has been used for a year, but was recently taken off the road.

On April 2, 2011, the camera caught more than 900 traffic violations but the Hamilton police chief has decided to wave those tickets because he says drivers were put in a bad situation.

"The stop signs were actually covered over," said Police Chief Neil Ferdelman. "I think when there is that kind of change in the traffic pattern, and an officer may be telling a motorist 'get through here, we need to get hundreds of cars through,' I think that negates that type of enforcement action.

A majority of the violators were from out of town, who were in town for a soccer tournament. Chief Ferdelman says their department wasn't aware the tournament was taking place.

"Perhaps a speed sign would have worked a little better," said Ferdelman. "We wouldn't had taken that type of law enforcement measure if we knew there was a tournament or festival in progress."

Ferdelman said the tickets would have brought in more than $40,000 to the city. Some residents at Wednesday night's city council meeting say this incident is an example of why the mobile camera should not be used.

But there are others that like the cameras.

"Whether it be traffic tickets, or whether it be people selling dope on the corner, or whether it is prostitution, I am in favor of cameras," said Bob Harris, Hamilton resident.

But Harris doesn't agree with Chief Ferdelman's decision to wave tickets. Now city council will have to decide what to do about the camera.

"I do get concerned because there isn't that human interaction between an officer and a motorist," said Ferdelman. "Often times that is kind of valuable."

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