The City of Chicago rakes in millions from its red light cameras, and once again, some of that revenue is coming from the Mayor himself.
This time, it was the Wrigleyville website, cwbchicago.com, which outed the mayor’s traffic transgressions: five different red light tickets between Nov. 20 and Jan. 14 of this year.
“First and foremost, red lights are there for public safety,” Emanuel said Thursday, once again defending the red light camera program in the face of mounting criticism. “I’d rather use technology to enforce traffic safety so our police officers, rather than writing traffic tickets, are out there fighting guns and gangs.”
And for the tickets?
“I always pay them,” he said. “Since there’s a tail car given, there are some instances where they can’t get through a light because they can’t get separated from the first car. That may be what happened but whatever it is I pay them, even though I’m not driving.”
A Chicago Police Department spokesman confirmed the two-car Emanuel detail is trained to keep cars together.
“CPD’s job is to protect the Mayor,” spokesman Martin Maloney said in a statement. “The drivers are trained to stay together and that will not change.”
On a related note, the mayor said he was prepared to embrace countdown clocks for corners where the red light cameras are installed. It’s a reform some aldermen have called for, but an expensive one, at a minimum of about $15,000 per intersection.
“That’s another additional reform,” he said. “Always be open to changing, but making sure we never give up the public safety and traffic safety gains that we’ve made.”
A check of the City of Chicago website indicated that the latest infractions had been paid.