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Phillips readyto put brakeson red lightcamera plans

BECKY CAMPBELL • Mar 10, 2007 at 11:45 AM

KINGSPORT - Months have passed since the first red light cameras were supposed to be installed at five key Kingsport intersections, and the project is now in jeopardy of being canceled.

Mayor Dennis Phillips is apparently so fed up, he suggested last week the city send a letter to RedFlex canceling the contract signed late last year.

"We were told December 31, then March 15 and now April 30. This is something we have been harping on well over a year," Phillips said.

"If this company can't perform, at what point do we say enough is enough? We are the laughingstock when we do things like this."

Former Police Chief Mark Addington started the project and made his first public statements about it in early 2005.

Since that time, the department has continued to study the possibility of putting cameras at intersections to catch drivers running red lights.

Last year, the Kingsport Police Department finally got the project out to bid and accepted a proposal from RedFlex.

City leaders signed the contract with the Arizona- based company in November.

Deputy Police Chief David Quillin said at the time that the company indicated the cameras would be up and running within 60 days of signing the contract.

That time frame has come and gone nearly twice, and no cameras are installed yet.

Quillin said the delay is due to the method RedFlex uses to code the tickets and how those are matched to the information in the system.

"There are certain requirements mandated by the state dealing with lock box operations and things on the financial end," Quillin said.

RedFlex currently uses a bar code system to code its tickets in other cities, but financial institutions in Tennessee don't use bar codes. Instead, they use a more current system called optical character recognition, Quillin said.

"Modifications had to be made by RedFlex to meet those requirements," Quillin said.

That work is progressing, and Quillin said he anticipates the program going forward.

Interim Police Chief Gale Osborne said the department has arranged for RedFlex representatives to be at the March 19 Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session to update the board on the holdup.

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