Apr 15, 2014 11:34 AM by AP
WESTWEGO, La. (AP) - Westwego's City Council has voted to extend the city's contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, the Arizona company that provides equipment designed to slow motorists down.
The council's unanimous vote on Monday directs Mayor Johnny Shaddinger to renew the contract Westwego has had with Redflex since 2009 for the traffic cameras.
"I don't think anybody hates Redflex as much as I do," Councilman Glenn Green said in asking the council to support renewing the contract. He added that it's not "a matter of dollars and cents. It's a matter of safety. Everybody's slowed down in the city, including me."
Police Chief Dwayne Munch, who is credited with bringing the program to the city, acknowledged it is controversial.
Munch tells The Times-Picayune Westwego has seen an 80 percent drop in accidents with injuries on Lapalco Boulevard. He credits Redflex. "The bottom line is, the system works," he said. "It slows people down. It slows police officers down. It slows politicians down. The bottom line is, it doesn't discriminate."
The discussion Monday night included acknowledgement that the city and police department gets money out of the program. Officials did not say how much, but Reflex revenue is shared among the five city councilmen and the police department.
"It does generate funds for the city," Shaddinger said. "But once we get past that ... it does represent public safety."