One man is on a crusade to rid Colorado of photo radar vans

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SHERIDAN, Colo. -- Paul Houston is on a mission to get cars to slow down before they get captured on cameras inside the photo radar vans used in 10 cities in the state.

“It’s unconstitutional, it violates the rule of law, it breeds public corruption and it just doesn’t work,” Houston said. “I say only a cop can issue a ticket. This is just nonsense.”

Sheridan Police Chief Mark Campbell said there is simple proof that the vans work.

“Just watch the speed of traffic on say Federal (Boulevard) an hour before or after the van either shows up or has left the location by the schools and parks in the area,” Campbell said. “People will speed when the van is gone but slow down when the van or Mr. Houston are on scene.”

The chief also said, "From the van you'd get a $40 ticket and no points. The same ticket by a police officer is $80 to $100 and four points plus court costs.”

Then he asks, "Which would you rather deal with?”

The vans and red light cameras generate about $14.2 million for cities using them statewide. Sheridan has collected $1.3 million in five years, but the chief said it’s not about the money but instead safety.

Houston said there is no empirical evidence the vans stop speeders or save lives.

Houston plans to be at a city council meeting Monday night and urges anyone opposed to the vans to show up as well to let the city know how they feel about the photo radar vans and red light cameras.

“If council doesn’t pull the plug on the ‘flashies,’ then we will get the issue on the ballot for next November,” Houston said.

"Hey, we don’t care if Mr. Houston is out there slowing down traffic, as long as he doesn’t hide our blue warning signs," Campbell said.