A little more than a dozen protesters waiving signs that read "Honk for Privacy" and "Cops not Cameras" flocked to the northeast corner of Scottsdale and Thomas roads - an intersection equipped with traffic enforcement cameras - on Friday to speak out against the use of the devices.
"We don't think the role of government is to spy on citizens," Mesa resident D.T. Arneson, founder of the newly formed www.camerafraud.com, said before the demonstration.
Arneson said he would rather see government leaders spend more on police officers than traffic cameras.
Cities and towns across the Valley use the cameras to photograph and cite motorists who run red lights, speed and make illegal turns.
"Our No. 1 issue is safety. The cameras cannot prevent accidents and cannot make the decisions police officers can," said Arneson, stressing that the Web site's supporters are also concerned about privacy.
A representative of American Traffic Solutions, the Scottsdale-based photo enforcement equipment operator that supplies Scottsdale's traffic camera equipment, as well as that of other cities, said privacy is not an issue with these cameras.
"Only those who violate the law would have their picture taken, which a police officer would review and decide. These public safety programs are extremely popular with the public for a simple reason," Josh Weiss, director of communications and public affairs for American Traffic Solutions, said in a phone interview prior to the protest. "Statistics prove that photo enforcement reduces traffic violations, crashes and injuries."
Arneson said he hopes Friday's protest will further the debate, ultimately into the hands of voters.
"We hope this will help lead up to a state representative helping to curtail the cameras, or we will push for a future ballot initiative," he said.