SEATTLE -- There are over 20 cities in Washington State that use red light cameras and they're split between two different vendors. In Seattle it's American Traffic Solutions. The other is a company called Redflex.
Whether you consider them big brother or an electronic cop that can watch dangerous intersections all day every day, traffic cameras are controversial.
One of the things that make them that way is perception over the money they generate, which in our state is $124 a ticket.
Watchdog organizations like bancams.com say profits for the companies are a big incentive to win contracts with cities at any cost. And in Chicago allegations are swirling around a scandal involving Redflex and how far some company sales employees were willing to go to win millions in business.
So what does that have to do with Washington State?
In a counter-suit filed by a fired Redflex sales executive, Aaron Rosenberg says he didn't bribe anybody but others within the company culture did, and not just in Chicago. His suit names California along with Washington and other states like Virginia and Georgia as targets for graft.
Redflex fired back in a statement saying, "Redflex Traffic Systems denies the allegations in the counterclaim which are from Aaron Rosenberg, a former executive vice president, terminated for violating company policies and procedures. Redflex will aggressively defend itself against the allegations."
But for all the controversy surrounding traffic cameras in Washington the offices of the State Auditor and Attorney General say nothing has been brought to their attention concerning traffic company misconduct.
The City of Auburn was the first to employ red light cameras in 2006 and now that contract is up for renewal. The city's vendor is Redflex.
"We've never seen anything funny or out of place," said assistant Police Chief Bill Pierson.
Pierson says three companies including Redflex are bidding for the business, adding, "Redflex was very proactive in notifying us that they did have some problems back in the Midwest and sent out numerous correspondence that indicated they had taken care of it; and that it is in no way shape or form of what they represent or how they run their business."