Those pesky red light cameras the city of Oak Forest installed five years ago? They're sticking around for at least two more years, and possibly up to four more, after a contract renewal between the city and service provider Gatso USA.
The city paid Gatso $36,000 since the start of the previous fiscal year for its services—which the city has nearly tripled in revenue from citations. The new contract will extend the services at least two more years; Gatso will continue to provide Oak Forest police with footage of possible violations.
Oak Forest Police Chief Anderson said that it is Illinois state law that companies that manage red light enforcement for municipalities send tapes to the respective police stations so that an officer can review footage for potential violations before a citation is issued.
“We've made $90,000 in ticket revenue and that's still going to continue to climb through collections and that type of thing,” Anderson said.
He added that, on average, an Oak Forest Police officer will spend about 90 minutes per month reviewing tapes—a decrease from when the cameras were first installed.
“We don't have that many violations anymore because everybody knows the cameras are there,” he said. “So, our time has been reduced on that.”
Anderson said that the contract is the previous contract verbatim, and that Gatso USA has been a valuable partner to the city since the start.
“Gatso has been an outstanding partner on this,” Anderson said. “They've been very receptive whenever we've had issues with the cameras, whether they're broke or maintenance or anything along those lines. They've been very good for us.”
The agreement passed in a 6-to-1 vote, with Alderman Rich Simon as the lone dissenting voice.