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North Miami’s red light camera program officially ends

North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph discussing the city’s decision to end its red-light camera program outside North Miami police headquarters, 700 NE 124th St., on Sept. 30.
North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph discussing the city’s decision to end its red-light camera program outside North Miami police headquarters, 700 NE 124th St., on Sept. 30. Miami Herald Staff

With the start of the city’s new fiscal year, North Miami is officially ending its red-light camera program.

The city council voted to end its contract with American Traffic Solutions back in June after months of discussion earlier this year.

At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Smith Joseph stressed that the removal of the cameras shouldn’t make drivers less vigilant on the road.

“Just because the cameras will go offline does not mean that all citizens can start violating our red lights and our traffic,” Joseph said.

The mayor also clarified than any potential violations that occurred up to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, and any past violations that were being considered would remain in effect.

The city initially considered extending its contract with the company in January but voted instead to delay that decision.

Somebody said this is a very sad day for the city to eliminate the cameras. It's always a sad day for a child when you take away a pacifier from him or her. -

Mayor Smith Joseph

Vice Mayor Carol Keys voted against the item in June and said the cameras improved safety, especially along busy Biscayne Boulevard.

“We are making it so dangerous for our residents,” Keys said at the meeting.

Ultimately, other council members and many residents argued in favor of removing the cameras and said the program had expanded too far beyond the initial scope.

“This has stopped being about safety and started being about money,” Councilman Scott Galvin said at the June meeting.

The city is making the move a little more than a year after the state Supreme Court ruled that multiple South Florida cities violated their authority when they created camera programs between 2008 and 2010.

Since then multiple lawsuits have been filed against ATS related to red-light camera fines and cities have discussed removing or reducing their programs.

To supplement the loss of the cameras, the city plans to increase police presence at major intersections and provide additional education to drivers about the fines they may face for running the lights.

“Safety is first and our fine police officers will continue to do their jobs to keep the streets safe,” Joseph said.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3

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