Martins Ferry Officials Considering Installing "Gotcha Cameras" - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Martins Ferry Officials Considering Installing "Gotcha Cameras"

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They call them "gotcha cameras."

The speeding driver zooms past, thinking there are no police around.

Then he gets a citation in the mail.

He was caught on tape.

Martins Ferry is considering installing those cameras.

They say a Martins Ferry city council member noticed traffic cameras in Columbus recently and he came back saying they'd be a good idea here.

Police Chief John McFarland is looking into it.

Chief McFarland says one intersection-Route 7 and Hanover Street, is a real problem with at least two crashes a week.

He says northbound traffic on Route 7 turns left on Hanover, and plows into southbound vehicles.

"Once that green arrow goes away, the southbound traffic has the right-of-way," says McFarland. "The northbound drivers don't seem to realize that."

He said there's also speeding on the highway and on city streets.

In other towns, Steubenville for instance, the cameras made people furious and created a legal controversy that people still talk about.

"I was picked up in Steubenville," recalls Mike Smith of Rayland. "And the video didn't show me behind the wheel. It just showed the back of the vehicle. It could have been anybody in that vehicle."

Many people dislike the concept of traffic cameras on general principles, saying it's like Big Brother watching, it's sneaky, or it's all to get money for the city coffers.

The chief says his motive is safety, not money.

He says he has seen too many fatal accidents.

And in his opinion, anything that prompts people to slow down and pay attention is a good thing.

"If it gets to the point where there's no infractions down there, it would make my day," says McFarland.

But not everyone is in favor of it.

"I would rather have them not do it," says Tiffany Nameth of Yorkville.

"Oh, I think there's a lot of potential in that, and it's probably a good thing in the community," says Paul Crane of Harrisville.

"There's nowhere to pull over if you get pulled over by the police," says Misty Cameron of Belmont. "You have to either go over the curb and into the grass, and there's always a line of traffic behind you, trying to get around. And then a semi comes barreling through. So I think it would be a good idea to get these cameras, and then people would get the notice in the mail and show up for court."

If it does happen, it won't be soon.

The chief and city solicitor want to look into the pros and cons before doing anything.