Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baltimore to Pay Speed Camera Company $600K To Go Away

Baltimore City plans to pay speed camera vendor Brekford Corporation $600,000 to end their contract for the city's speed camera program which has been completely shut down since April, according to a report by the Baltimore Sun.

Brekford agreed to accept $600,000 "to carry out this mutually-agreed termination, and to resolve any outstanding disputes related to the matter between the parties".  Brekford started the contract in January 2013.  The previous contractor, Xerox State and Local Solutions, lost the contract amid revelations that cameras had been systematically producing erroneous citations, including false speed readings.  The program was shut down again just three months later when hundreds of new erroneous citations were discovered under Brekford's watch.  Brekford had previously received a payment of $700,000 in August while the cameras were shut down.

"The mayor has said on several occasions that the speed camera program would not come back online until its accuracy and overall ability to function met the highest possible standards," stated the Mayor's spokeman Kevin Harris.  "Brekford expended significant resources to help create a system that performed at the highest standard, but ultimately it became clear that Baltimore needs to move in a different direction to ultimately build a system that uniquely fits our city."  The payment is expected to be approved by the board of estimates.

Brekford corp has recently found itself in deep financial trouble and reported a large loss in the last quarter.

The move places the future of the program in question.  According to the Baltimore Sun, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said the city should stop using speed cameras and instead station more traffic officers :
"Let's go with what we know: professionals standing there doing their job, working with the citizens to ensure safety, especially for our elderly and our children," Clarke said. "I think we've tried long and hard enough" with the cameras, she said, "and wasted an awful lot of money in the process."