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Girard police prefer manned speed cameras, despite Ohio court ruling

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GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court made catching speeding drivers easier but a local police department said it’s not making any changes.

On Wednesday, the Court said the law requiring an officer to be present while operating a speed camera is unconstitutional.

Ohio is one of 14 states, along with Washington D.C., that allow the use of speeding cameras.

The Ohio law requiring an officer for speed cameras to be used dates back to December of 2014. Some communities sued, saying the state was taking too much control.

This is the third time the law has been challenged.

But even with the new ruling, some local departments say they will still use officer-operated cameras.

Girard Police Chief John Norman said having officers in the community instead of just a camera can make a big difference.

“You get a real bad accident and that officer is seconds away because he’s running radar and he gets there and saves somebody’s life.”

Critics of the law say it improperly limits local control and costs too much money. A three-year traffic study was also required before the lone camera could be used.

“All that is is an unmanned box with a speed camera in it that issues tickets. The officer, I think, gives more validity to it,” Norman said.

He said Girard will continue with the manned cameras.

“We want everyone to know there is an officer out there and if you do get a ticket, it is a legitimate ticket.”

Girard has a history with traffic stops. In 2006, the city tried to put in a traffic camera system but was stopped after a lawsuit. Unmanned traffic cameras were banned back in 2015.

This will most likely be the end of the line for this ruling going any higher in court.

A spokesman for the Attorney General said the case could not be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court because it is only a state law. Lawmakers may now consider taking away state funding from cities that use unmanned cameras.

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