The cameras at the intersection of Walnut and Glenwood avenues haven’t caught a driver running a red light in almost a year.

Even though they’re not operational, they appear to be working, city officials say.

Before the cameras were installed, the intersection had the highest accident and injury rate in Dalton, according to Lane Ashworth, a member of the city’s Public Safety Commission. Now, the intersection has dropped out of the top 10, he said.

“We’re still seeing residual effects even today basically a year after the cameras were turned off,” Ashworth said. “It’s sort of like a conditioned response.”

The Dalton City Council on Monday allowed the Public Safety Commission and the Dalton Police Department to seek proposals to install a new red light photo system at an undetermined intersection. The request for proposals states the provider will evaluate sites within Dalton and make a recommendation for the “best site for the system.”

“We’re not even sure if it’s going to be at the same location, to be honest with you,” Ashworth said.

He said he does not have a cost estimate for a new system, but said police chief James Chadwick does. Chadwick said the previous system “paid for itself,” but he did not give an estimate for the cost of the new system.

“I really couldn’t tell you what a dollar figure would be for that, honestly,” Ashworth said.

The city paid Transol, the Arizona-based company that installed the cameras at the intersection of Walnut and Glenwood, $6,420 a month for the service.

Last spring, the city asked Transol to turn the cameras off after four months. City officials said the system required police officers to spend too much time reviewing photos and that they expected Transol to do more of the work.

Ashworth said drivers running red lights is a “critical public safety issue.”

“The commission viewed it as an epidemic, not just in the city of Dalton, statewide, but nationwide,” Ashworth said. “I think most people would probably agree with that more than likely as well. People need to view this as a public safety issue really more so than traffic enforcement.”

Chris McDonald, Dalton Police Department spokesman, was not able to provide The Daily Citizen on Monday with the number of tickets that were issued because of the red light cameras at Walnut and Glenwood. McDonald said reinstating the red light cameras is “not something we’re pushing.”

“I think it’s something we’ll utilize to the fullest,” McDonald said. “The bottom line I think with those out there is it will help out with the intersection.”

McDonald said the cameras were only fully operational for a few months.

“It’s hard to pull data in such a short amount of time and make a scientific analysis from it,” McDonald said. “Naturally we’d like to look as long term as possible.”

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