Saturday, January 11, 2014

Baltimore Sun: Brekford OK'd Speed Camera Ticket for Parked Truck

The Baltimore Sun reports that speed camera contractor Brekford approved a speed camera citation for a parked vehicle shortly before the city suspended their program last April.
"Things like this will kill the program!" Baltimore police Sgt. Paul McMillian told officials with the city and Brekford Corp., the former contractor, in an April 13 email obtained by The Baltimore Sun.
McMillian said that "the blue pickup truck is clearly parked against the curb lane," yet Brekford approved the speed camera ticket and forwarded it to the Police Department for review. "The citation was disaproved of course," McMillian added.
"Thank you for letting us know, Sergeant," replied Jamie McDonald, the city Department of Transportation official who led the team overseeing the city's now-defunct speed and red-light camera program. "You are right, we can't afford to have ANY of these."
The citation was not approved in this instance.

The event occurred around the same time Baltimore was force to refund hundreds of citations issued in error due to an improperly configured camera which was enforcing the wrong speed limit.    The city made no mention of this apparent erroneous speed event at that time.  In 2012 the city had experienced similar incidents under their old contractor, Xerox Corp, including citations issued to parked vehicles.  Xerox acknowledged that for some of their cameras one in 20 citations issued were due to errors.

The city has since terminated their contract with Brekford, but not before making an additional payment of  $600,000 to the contractor for the time when the city's cameras were all shut down.  The Sun claims to have obtained documents citing defective radar, incorrect citation numbers, and high error rates as reasons.