Government’s abuse of Photo Radar

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For those of you who don’t know, the first photo radar system to be deployed in the U.S. was in Arizona.

A typical system works like this; respective municipalities lease the equipment and pay a fee to the photo radar equipment manufacturers for the equipment. Manufacturers are also typically paid a percentage of fines collected. Manufacturers may have the right to move the equipment if target revenues are not met.

According to an article in “thenewspaper.com”, photo radar units on the Loop 101 freeway in Scottsdale, Arizona have generated more than $2,894,766 in revenue since the set of six speed cameras were activated on February 22. As of May 3, the city mailed 18,438 citations worth between $157 and $201 each. Australian vendor Redflex takes a $42.48 cut of the profit on each ticket the company is able to generate.

In another article cited by “thenewspaper.com” Officials in Richland Hills, Texas have manipulated the yellow signal timing at the city’s lone red light camera monitored intersection. By slicing the amount of warning time available to motorists from 3.6 seconds to 3.0 seconds for several months, the intersection of Glenview Drive and Booth Calloway Road generated an estimated $300,000 in extra photo ticket revenue. Richland Hills Police Chief Barbara Childress admitted that she ordered a private contractor to shorten the yellow signal time.

The argument used by cities to deploy these systems is safety…right! So how safe are intersections when yellow lights are shortened? Safety my Butt!

Government must think we are stupid. Just follow the money and we can see why there’s such a huge interest on the part of Municipalities to deploy these system.

At one time, IRS agents were paid commissions based on what they colleted…Yea, that wasn’t abusive! (this is sarcasm, under this system millions of U.S. citizens were targets of abuse.).

Under the 6th amendment of the U.S. constitution, you have the right to confront your accuser, in this case, your abuser. So exactly how do you cross examine a radar system? You can’t and these cities know it. They also know the odds of an individual fighting a photo radar citation are small. These are no small fines, they can reach several hundred dollars and judges are quick to side against you.

I would recommend anyone, receiving a citation, present your case in court. It’s your right. Yes it adds cost to the court system. Maybe cities will think twice about the way citations are issued.

At one time, the city of Tucson had two schedules of fines, one schedule if you don’t contest the citation and another if you do, how ridiculous! Government has no business discouraging individuals from their constitutional right to fight a citation. Besides, what ever happened to the presumption of innocence?

Now we hear Gov. Napolitano is deploying photo radar systems throughout Arizona. As an individual and as a police officer this upsets me. Why? Because Gov. Napolitano is not deploying Photo Radar because of some compelling safety issue. She’s using the income from Photo Radar to balance the state’s budget. This is nothing short of a TAX!

Municipalities are depending more and more on the revenues for these types of technologies. Why, because it’s easy. For the most part, people are tired of Taxes and Government knows this.

Can speed radar read faulty, you bet. I remember running radar and clocked a tree moving at 20 MPH…and I was stationary.

On a personal note; if I would have known that Gov. Napolitano would have resigned as Gov to accept a position with Obama’s Administration…I would have voted for Obama.
She’s been terrible for the State of Arizona. Anyone that resolves budget problems by deploying Photo Radar across the State is Clueless and a poor leader.

This is not the end. My plan is to do something about the abuse…stay tuned.
It’s time to kick butt and take names…..

– Bill Conley

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6 Responses to Government’s abuse of Photo Radar

  1. Carl Hankwitz says:

    Hawaii was successful in getting rid of the “camera vans” because most of the revenue collected was going out of state rather than supporting the services that are normally supported. So not only were the “vans” taking away jobs … but also revenue for the state of Hawaii and local municipalities.

    This is also happening in Arizona … and the sooner that the state and municipalities wake up to this fact … the sooner we can get rid of these highway robbers and return our hard working police enforcement officers to their jobs.

  2. Dennis Keys says:

    We plot the Tucson Police Photo Radar Van locations on an interactive map…daily! It makes it easy to SEE if they will be in your path. This is usually updated each night (around 10 pm) for the next day. So you can get a real “heads-up” as to where they will be.

    Check it out… http://www.intucsonnow.com

  3. The Photo Radar FAQ on the Tucson Police Department’s website is purposefully misleading. Everyone knows you have the right to be legally served but they manage to convolute the issue on their own FAQ.
    At one point, it says clearly “If you fail to respond, then personal service is required…If you fail to respond after process has been served, you will be subject to default. A default judgment can result in the assessment of a fine, surcharge and fees and the
    suspension of your driver license.”
    And then several pages later it says, “Once the court date has past, a process server will be notified. You will be subject to personal service of the Complaint and Summons and the cost of personal service will be assessed to you. In addition, you will be subject to a default judgment, the assessment of a fine, surcharges and fees and the suspension of your driver license,” as if the notification of the process server is accompanied by the default, WHICH IS NOT TRUE.
    The ticket in the mail is a different ticket than the one that is served you, with separate court dates. This distinction should be made, don’t you think?

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