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3/13/2007DC Camera System Falling Apart
A camera vendor audit shows most of the Washington, DC photo enforcement cameras are broken or uncalibrated.
Washington, DC's photo enforcement cameras have fallen into a state of disrepair with twenty-three of the city's fifty red light cameras completely inoperable. In a March 11 memo to council members, ATS, the new company hired to operate the cameras for the city, admits that at least two of the ten fixed speed cameras have fallen out of calibration over the past eight months. The cameras are located at the 2800 and 3400 blocks of Benning Road NE. Police insist the camera is fine because they are still pointed in the correct direction. (View memo, 1.6mb PDF format)
This exposes, "the District to evidentiary liability on tens of thousands of speeding violation notices for millions of dollars," the memo warned, as reported by The Washington Post.
ATS conducted the audit of the red light camera and speed camera equipment before taking over the ticketing contract from ACS, the company that has run the program since 1999. As of January, ACS had mailed 2,858,476 tickets -- the equivalent of five tickets for every resident -- worth $217 million.
A city audit of DC's parking meter contract with ACS came to similar conclusions. ACS had allowed parking meters to fall into a state of disrepair with only 232 meters out of 1906 that were checked found to be in proper working order. ACS also issued at least 6888 tickets to motorists parked at broken meters. ACS has faced several fraud investigations in the past year. Two police officers in Edmonton, Canada are currently on trial for accepting bribes from ACS and the company's CEO and CFO stepped down last year after admitting to $51 million in stock fraud
Broken camera locations:Source: Many D.C. Red-Light Cameras Broken (The Washington Post, 3/13/2007)
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