Sweetwater, FL – The City of Sweetwater has confirmed the red-light traffic cameras have been removed from two major intersections to make way for FDOT improvements along 107th Avenue. The traffic cameras were removed from the busy intersections along 107th avenue, one of the busiest roadways in Miami Dade County, one in the intersection of West Flagler Street and 107 Avenue, the other one removed from Southwest 4th Street and 107th Avenue.
With an estimated 200,000 cars passing through the intersections on a daily basis, it is not yet known how much money the city will miss out on after the removal of these cameras, as it was mentioned in a previous council meeting Sweetwater makes about $2 Million per year on red light camera revenues. The traffic cameras were installed between 2012 and 2013 as a way to gain revenues for the police department, although money has been put to use in other ways by the city commission and administrations since then. Citations for red light infractions can cost motorists upwards of $150. The City of Sweetwater still has two other red light cameras located on 107th Avenue near International Mall.
One of the cameras removed from the intersection of 107th Avenue and Flagler Street was the camera that recorded Sweetwater Police Officer Alejandro Ramos running a red light with his patrol car and crashing into a motorist in 2015. The video was obtained by a local television news station from red light traffic camera provider American Traffic Solutions in Arizona and eventually led to the April 2016 arrest of Officer Ramos for official misconduct by a public servant. This adds to an alarmingly large list of Sweetwater Police officers arrested or terminated in recent years.
It is not known whether the removal of the red light traffic cameras is permanent, but according to a city spokesperson, it will be “at least a few months” before they are replaced, if at all.
Did anyone else notice that the discussion was about the loss of revenue, NOT about any possible safety issues without the cameras? Hopefully by now residents of Sweetwater and all across Florida know that red light cameras are government run money grab rackets, not safety programs. The first, last, and ONLY true purpose for the hanging bandit cameras is to take money out of mostly safe drivers wallets to give it to the state budget (52.5% of the camera loot), the for-profit camera companies that are mostly out of state, and the for-profit city business partners in the red light camera scams – like Sweetwater. NO ONE should accept leaving any of the money grab scameras in place any longer for any reason.
James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association