Murrieta will consider suing American Traffic Solutions for continuing to collect data on city drivers after the City Council ordered the Arizona company to shut off the data-collecting cameras.
Council members used strong words to describe their anger after learning last week that American Traffic Solutions left the sensors inside the cameras active for months to collect the data without the city’s knowledge. The company announced on Thursday, April 11, that it had shut off the cameras but left the sensors active to collect raw data.
“I’m really appalled at the way this occurred,” Councilman Alan Long said after agreeing with Councilman Randon Lane’s proposal that council members consider legal options during a future closed session hearing. “I’m flat out angry that a company… that was asked to take down the cameras or turn them off (would) completely disregard our request, especially because it was such a contention, controversial manner.”
American Traffic Solutions representative Charles Territo said Tuesday, April 16, that the company turned off all components of the technology on Thursday after the city’s reaction.
Murrieta first introduced red light cameras in 2006. Several years later, the City Council, at the suggestion of the police department, considered expanding the program beyond the three intersections currently armed with cameras.
Residents responded with a petition drive for a ballot measure banning the cameras. American Traffic Solutions, and another red light camera company, unsuccessfully backed a lawsuit challenging the petition drive, and then again challenged the ballot measure after voters approved banning the cameras by 57 percent.
This month, a Riverside County Superior Court judge ruled that the voters do not have the right to dictate traffic management. Now with the judge’s ruling in place, council members are scheduled to discuss the cameras again on June 4.
The issue likely will draw further debate.
“I’d like to remind the council members that you are representatives of the people,” resident Jackie Fenaroli said. “You should honor the people’s wishes.”