ATS Removes Red-Light Cameras Under Cover of Darkness

John Rhodes
Rhodes calls this photo snapped last night "Iwo Jima in Reverse"
Updated with response from ATS

Daily RFT just had an amusing conversation with Washington councilman John Rhodes.

Rhodes was driving through his Franklin County town around 10 p.m. last night when he saw the damnedest site: a group of electricians taking down Washington's red-light cameras.

A city councilman for thirteen years, Rhodes led the charge in January to sever Washington's contract with red-light camera operator American Traffic Solution (ATS). Rhodes tells Daily RFT today that his research showed that the cameras -- in place for three years -- did little to diminish accidents.

"It was no improvement whatsoever," says Rhodes. "But they (ATS) justified the cameras by saying that 80 percent of violators weren't from Washington. To me that doesn't matter. We want people to visit our community. All they're doing is fleecing drivers of $500,000 in three years' time."

At a council meeting earlier this year, Rhodes helped convince five colleagues not to renew the contract with ATS. The measure passed 6 to 2, and the ticket program officially ended March 7. At the council meeting that night, Rhodes suggested that the city place burlap bags over the cameras to make sure they couldn't take photos.

John Rhodes
He says that he also called ATS this week to ask when they planned to remove the devices from their two intersections in Washington. Rhodes says he promised KMOV Channel 4 that he'd give them a call so they could get footage of the cameras coming down.

"I don't know if it was my burlap bag comment or they were worried about the TV cameras," says Rhodes. "Either way, I couldn't believe it when I was driving down the street last night and saw a crew removing the poles."

Rhodes grabbed his iPhone and snapped more than a dozen pictures. He says he asked the electricians -- subcontracted with Gerstner Electric -- why they were working such odd hours.

"The guy responded that it all paid the same," says Rhodes.

Charles Territo, a spokesman from ATS, says removing cameras at night is quite common and doesn't point to any conspiracy.

"As is often the case with road construction work, the cameras were removed at night in order to ensure the least possible disruption to the local traffic patterns," says Territo. He adds, "As you know, red light safety cameras have proven to be an effective tool for law enforcement to use to enhance public safety. While we're disappointed that Washington chose to end their successful program, demand for red light safety cameras across the country continues to grow. It won't be long before Washington's cameras have a new home and begin saving lives in a new community."

Tip of the hat to Matthew Hay and his website for alerting Daily RFT to this tale. 

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Matt Hay
Matt Hay

Charlie Territo reminds me of Baghdad Bob, Saddam Hussein's spokesman during the Gulf War who had absolutely no grasp on reality. So, you say the cameras are effective, yet Washington is taking them down. That makes a whole lot of sense. Why are they taking them down then Charlie? Are they opposed to supposed "safer roads" and the money your scam generates? Is it possible that the number of accidents was not reduced and that members of the Council had serious concerns about the lack of Due Process?

You say "As you know they are effective...." who knows this? They have increased accidents in the City of Arnold 370%, 90%, and 21% and pretty much everywhere else they are installed. USF says they have increased the likelihood of a fatality from .5 to .8 (+.3 net increase) where they are installed. In fact, it is only in Photo-Enforcement Lobby funded studies that conclude there is a decrease in accidents. I trust those studies as much as the studies from the tobacco lobby that said 2nd hand smoke is harmless and healthy. Pack up your scameras and take them to another state, until you end up in Federal Prison like former ATS associate Jay Morris Spector. If you put them up somewhere else in Missouri, I promise we will be there to expose the truth behind the fact your company simply turns dangerous intersections into cash registers. Municipalities unfortunately are complicit because your campaign donations are enticing, and fixing intersections costs money, which many of them would prefer to spend on things like "free trash" to purchase their offices.

Three cheers for the City Council of Washington, Missouri, like St. Patrick, we will drive these snakes from our lands and into the sea.


The only "loss" will be to the treasurer. There will be no safety loss, and possibly a safety gain when rear end crashes may go down. Ticket cameras are just a cynical means to make money with improper and/or unethical traffic management policies. See more info on our website. Regards, James C. Walker, Board Member - National Motorists Association Foundation,, Ann Arbor, MI


OK, Great there coming down. But, If safety was reason, they should never have gone up.

Cameras in place, 2 weeks later you get a ticket, how many times in the past 2 weeks did slip by some other red lights?

No cameras, You run a red light, get pulled over, set on the road side for 15 minutes with the cop. This put you 15-20 minutes late for your next stop, I'll bet you think about next time.

BobFarmington, MO

Paulie W
Paulie W

Is this the same Matt Hay who lost his re-election race for Arnold City Council b/c he opposed red light cameras?

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