Sunday, August 14, 2011

Frederick City Cameras bring in $216,000 in Four Weeks

Frederick City speed cameras issued 6,922 citations worth $216,000 in their first four weeks of operation.  The city had originally conservatively estimated $450,000 worth of revenue for an entire year.

Cameras are currently posted on Hayward Road, Opossomtown Pike, Butterfly Lane, North Market Street, and East Street, and the city reportedly plans to have a total of 18 cameras in use by the end of the year.  In June 2010 the city of Frederick had created a large number of new school zones specifically for the purpose of deploying "school zone" speed cameras.  Cities have had authority to designate and mark school zones within their boundaries for many years to alert drivers to the presence of schools and deploy other types of safety measures in those zones, but have only been authorized to deploy speed cameras in them since October 2009.

The city's contractor, ACS State and Local Solutions(a division of Xerox Corp) receives a fee of $3000 per month fee for each of the city's cameras, plus a $8.75 per ticket contingent fee.  A provision of state law which was supposed to ban paying speed camera contractors based on the number of citations has been successfully circumvented by nearly every speed camera program in the state by simply not using the word "operate" to describe what the contractor does, even if they control most aspects of the program and devices' functionality.  This demonstrates how all of the supposed restrictions on speed camera use are largely irrelevant to how they are actually implemented whenever there is a financial incentive for either the government or the contractor to sidestep those rules.

Lt Heatherton of the Frederick Police, who heads the city's camera program, stated to the Gazette that "I think I am the most hated man in Frederick these days".  In June the Frederick Post reported that two Frederick City speed cameras were destroyed by unknown individuals shortly after they went online.