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NMA Reporter 2009-01-07 22:11

Red Light Camera and Speed Camera CrimeLine
<b>Article: Red Light Camera and Speed Camera CrimeLine</b>

Although red light cameras and speed cameras are promoted as tools of law enforcement, they are, for the most part, wielded by a handful of private companies. In a number of well-documented cases presented chronologically below, these individuals and companies have shown disrespect to the laws they claim to be upholding. Highlights include FCC fines, fraud convictions, bribery convictions and speed camera vehicles busted for drunk driving.<br><br><b>December 2008</b><br>Redflex Traffic Systems agreed to pay the Federal Communications Commission $22,000 and to train its employees in US rules and regulations governing radar in order to settle a complaint against the Australian camera firm's illegal use of uncertified radar equipment. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2644.asp">more</a><br><br>A Dallas County court ruled that Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) has been operating its red light camera business without a private investigator's license in violation of state law. Outcome: The case is ongoing. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2614.asp">more</a><br><br>An appellate decision by the California Superior Court, found "cost neutrality" provisions common to more than forty photo enforcement contracts in the state to be illegal. In this case, Nestor's contract with Fullerton was found in violation of state law. Outcome: photo ticket ruled invalid. Outcome: Further court challenges ongoing. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2624.asp">more</a><br><br><b>November 2008</b><br>Executives at photo enforcement firms American Traffic Solutions (ATS) and Redflex were caught ignoring their own speed camera tickets. Outcome: In a notable exception, ATS President Jim Tuton went to traffic school in December for a ticket he received <i>from his own company</i>. Court records show it was ignored initially. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2597.asp">more</a><br><br>Washington, DC's Inspector General found the city's process for awarding the photo enforcement contract to ATS was riddled with errors. Outcome: No action taken. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2610.asp">more</a><br><br>Arizona Treasurer declares the state's freeway speed camera law unconstitutional. Article 9, Section 22 of the Arizona constitution requires a super-majority vote of the legislature to adopt any provision that provides a net increase in revenue. No such vote was taken. Outcome: Ongoing. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2608.asp">more</a><br><br><b>September 2008</b><br>A Redflex employee is busted for drunk driving in Scottsdale, Arizona while in a speed camera van on his way to ticket other motorists. Outcome: Redflex fired employee. Court case pending. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2530.asp">more</a><br><br>Photo ticket process server, an officer of the Arizona court system, caught on tape yelling racist slurs at a motorist. Outcome: no action taken. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2545.asp">more</a><br><br>US Attorney busted a police officer for embezzling $178,611 from the Washington, DC speed camera program. The officer was accused of claiming to have sat in the ACS/ATS speed camera car for 3400 hours; this did not actually take place. Outcome: Officer admitted guilt and faces jail time and fine. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2536.asp">more</a><br><br><b>August 2008</b><br>In its own words, Redflex attempted to land illegal contract in Florida. The company stated, "Legal opinions indicate that automated enforcement in the state of Florida remains illegal" but nonetheless filed an application with Homestead, Florida to operate the city's red light cameras. Outcome: Homestead in September chose ATS. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2532.asp">more</a><br><br><b>July 2008</b><br>Arizona Secretary of State confirmed that documents used to convict motorists of speeding in Lafayette, Louisiana contained elements that had been falsified. The Secretary's office rules that Redflex's notary public violated four Arizona laws while purporting to certify a speed camera deployment form for use in official hearings. Outcome: Redflex fired its notary. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/24/2464.asp">more</a><br><br>The UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), a government agency, determined that a speed camera operator, desperate to keep his position as the top ticket issuer, manipulated evidence to obtain more convictions from innocent drivers. Outcome: IPCC ordered &pound;35,585 in refunds to victimized motorists, plus the cancellation of 1635 license points. No action taken against the operator. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/24/2457.asp">more</a><br><br><b>May 2008</b><br>Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners ruled that Redflex violated state law by operating without a private investigator's license. Outcome: Court decision pending. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/23/2371.asp">more</a><br><br><b>September 2007</b><br>Tarrant County, Texas District Attorney investigated possible open meeting law violations by mayor of Mansfield who lobbied behind the scenes to ram a red light camera contract through the city council. Outcome: The camera contract failed, but no action was taken against the mayor. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/19/1958.asp">more</a><br><br><b>May 2007</b><br>Texas Senate committee learn in an open hearing that a city police officer was receiving his full-time police salary from Nestor Traffic Systems. Outcome: Committee informed officer that he should retain legal counsel. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/17/1760.asp">more</a><br><br>City traffic engineer in Kansas City, Missouri lobbied city council to install red light cameras, then left a few months later to work for German speed camera vendor Traffipax. Former engineer then violated ethics rules by attempting to lobby the city to choose Traffipax as the camera vendor before a one-year lobbying prohibition had expired. Outcome: none. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/17/1733.asp">more</a><br><br><b>April 2007</b><br>Unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruling found that the Minneapolis red light camera program's elimination of the presumption of innocence was illegal. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/16/1688.asp">more</a><br><br><b>March 2007</b><br>ACS accused of vandalizing Washington, DC speed camera and red light camera equipment after the city dumped the company as its photo ticketing operator in favor of a rival firm. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2007/ats-dcaudit.pdf">more in PDF</a><br><br><b>January 2007</b><br>Jay Morris Specter, a top red light camera salesman formerly with ATS and then Redflex, was convicted in South Carolina of $1.2 million in fraud. ATS had suspicions about Specter. "We terminated his contract," ATS spokesman Josh Weiss told TheNewspaper, referring to the company's action prior to the conviction. "We even called over to Redflex and warned them about Specter. Needless to say, they ignored us." Outcome: Specter will be released from prison in September 2010. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/15/1563.asp">more</a><br><br><b>November 2006</b><br>Two police officers killed a retired college professor in an accident caused while testing a new speed camera. The UK Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigated the possibility of criminal charges. Outcome: In October 2008, the police driver was found guilty of "careless driving," fined &pound;500, and given a two-year license suspension. Serious charges were dismissed, but both officers received a written warning from the police superintendent. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/21/2131.asp">more</a><br><br>The Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Affiliated Computer Services resigned after admitting to stock option fraud. Outcome: CFO received $1 million and CEO $3.2 million for their stock options on top of a salary lasting through June 2007. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/14/1467.asp">more</a><br><br>Cape Town newspaper runs front page expose on lavish "booze cruise" thrown for 28 South African police officers by speed camera vendor Labat Traffic Solutions. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/14/1440.asp">more</a><br><br><b>August 2006</b><br>St. Peters, Missouri mayor caught on tape soliciting a cash bribe in return for his signature on a red light camera ordinance. Outcome: Former mayor was released to a <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/23/2363.asp">halfway house</a> in May 2008 and then released fully in August. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/12/1295.asp">more</a><br><br><b>July 2006</b><br>UK Statistics Commission slams Department for Transport (DfT) for using bogus numbers to promote the effectiveness of speed cameras. Outcome: DfT continues to use inflated figures. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/13/1359.asp">more</a><br><br><b>June 2006</b><br>UK Advertising Standards Agency charged Greater Manchester police with dishonest advertising in material promoting the use of speed cameras. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/11/1193.asp">more</a><br><br>A pair of Edmonton, Canada police officers along with camera vendor Affiliated Computer Services faced charges in an alleged bribery scheme. The officers accepted lavish gifts from ACS -- including travel, sports tickets and female escort services -- in return for a recommendation that ACS be given a no-bid, $90 million photo ticketing contract. Outcome: In October 2008, a judge let the police officers and ACS <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/25/2578.asp">off the hook</a> without bringing the case to a jury. Even before this trial outcome, the Kiwanis Club in December 2007 <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/21/2116.asp">gave one of the officers involved</a> its "top cop" award. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/11/1178.asp">more</a><br><br><b>May 2006</b><br>Police Complaints Authority investigated allegations that an unsworn South Australian police employee attempted to run down a motorist while behind the wheel of a mobile speed camera vehicle. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/11/1112.asp">more</a><br><br><b>December 2005</b><br>UK Department for Transport (DfT) admitted that 80 percent of claimed reductions in accidents that the department attributed to the benefit of speed cameras was actually due to a statistical error known as "regression to the mean." Outcome: DfT continues to use the same statistics. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/08/840.asp">more</a><br><br><b>November 2005</b><br>Cranston, Rhode Island mayor dropped a no-bid speed camera contract with Nestor Traffic Systems after reports revealed that the company had made substantial campaign donations to the mayor's primary challenge for a US Senate seat. Outcome: The mayor lost the primary. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/08/806.asp">more</a><br><br><b>May 2005</b><br>Parliament questioned why a top cop in New South Wales, Australia was buying stock in Redflex, the Australian photo enforcement company. Outcome: Police cleared the police traffic services commander superintendent of wrongdoing. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/03/377.asp">more</a><br><br><b>December 2004</b><br>A Shropshire, UK speed camera van that had just issued thirty tickets to motorists was itself ticketed for doing 65 MPH in a 50 zone. A private citizen similarly recorded a Scottish speed camera van <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/00/55.asp">doing 45 MPH in a 30 zone</a>. Outcome: No action taken. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/01/164.asp">more</a><br><br><b>November 2004</b><br>Edmonton, Canada police officers were investigated after setting up the "Overtime Bar" sting designed to frame an Edmonton Sun columnist for drunk driving. A police sergeant admitted under oath that he used the police database to gather information on the columnist because he had criticized photo radar. Outcome: In December 2005, police investigating the police involved in the sting <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/08/849.asp">absolved police of wrongdoing</a>. <a href="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/06/662.asp">more</a> <A HREF="http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/26/2649.asp#source" TITLE="Read Source: ">Source</A>

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