Bellaire Police Chief: Look at Big Picture on Traffic Cams

Photo by Shelley Hanson West Bellaire resident Dan Frizzi talks about the state of Second Avenue during a regular Bellaire Village Council meeting Thursday.

Bellaire Police Chief Richard “Dick” Flanagan wants village council to decide whether it still wants to use traffic cameras.

Flanagan told council members during their meeting Thursday they must decide whether they still want to use the BlueLine Solutions handheld traffic cameras. He said an Ohio bill, if passed, would make using the cameras to issue traffic tickets an issue for the village.

The bill, he said, would penalize municipalities for using such cameras by withholding state funding.

According to published reports, House Bill 410 passed in the House in March and is in committee in the Senate. If approved, it would deduct the amount of money a city would receive from the state by how much it took in via camera traffic fines. It is not clear, however, if the bill targets just stationary cameras, handheld ones or both. Bellaire was not planning on using any stationary cameras, just those operated in-hand by an officer.

Flanagan said only half of his department’s officers have been trained on the BlueLine camera. Before the others are trained, he wants council to make a decision.

No related action was taken by council.

Flanagan said another issue with the cameras is related to state regulations. For example, the camera could only be used on a state road if that road runs through a municipality. Ohio 7 is located adjacent to the village, but does not run through it. This means the camera could not legally be used there, he said.

Flanagan said his officers could still use a regular radar gun there to catch speeders, however.

In other business:

∫ DiFabrizio said the Bellaire Volunteer Fire Department’s chief, Ricky Smith, stepped down because he has a new out-of-town job. The interim chief, Josh McMann, was introduced. DiFabrizio said he planned to appoint McMann as the permanent chief during the next meeting.

∫ Councilman Donny Maupin said he met with residents who live near the former St. John football field. They said they are tired of dust being kicked up by trucks driving to and from the property, which now is being used a pipeline yard. Maupin said the company, Pine Belt of Mississippi, is willing to talk with the village about the situation.

In the past, water had been sprayed on the street, but that was a temporary fix.

“The residents said they can’t sit on their porches in the evening because of the dust,” Maupin said.

Doyle added, “I think these people have a legitimate gripe. I wouldn’t want to deal with that.”

∫ Treasurer Tom Sable announced the village’s income tax revenues had increased by about $52,000, year-to-date, compared to this time last year. By this time in 2017, the village had taken in $480,000, and as of July it had taken in $532,000.

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