Traffic cameras have been a hot topic in Iowa for years now. On Wednesday, they were back up for debate during a public hearing in Ankeny.
This time around no one is trying to ban the cameras or add new ones. The question at hand is who should have control over where the cameras are placed.
The Iowa Department of Transportation is proposing a new set of rules and leaders from across the state are responding.
“The rules do not identify specific benchmarks, criteria or matrix assessments in which to evaluate a justification report,” says Windsor Heights Police Chief, Dennis McDaniel.
Currently cities set their own rules when it comes to traffic cameras. The Department of Transportation wants cities to follow a universal set of rules set by the state. Iowa DOT director, Paul Trombino says, “All we’re advocating is this decision relative to automotive traffic enforcement have the same process around it.”
The new rules would require cities to request a traffic camera for a specific location. The state would then have 90 days to approve or refuse the request.
The Iowa League of Cities thinks local leaders should be in control of their communities.
“The league believes that local officials are in the best position to make the determination as to those,” says Dustin Miller, Director of Government Affairs for the Iowa League of Cities.
The American Civil Liberties Union agrees some of the rules need to be adjusted.
“We think that there can be improvements made in terms of uniform applicability across the state and accountability for these systems to be used properly with due process and fairness,” says Executive Director, Ben Stone.
While no one at the hearing spoke out against the controversial cameras themselves, the question over who controls them remains up for debate.
The Administrative Rules Review Committee will consider the changes next month. The rules then would go into effect in February.