4/19/2016Scottsdale, Arizona Initially Ignored AG Opinion On Cameras
Scottsdale, Arizona processed photo tickets for 12 days in defiance of an attorney general ruling. Ticketing now entirely shut down.
For nearly two weeks, Scottsdale, Arizona allowed its private vendor to process over a hundred red light camera and speed camera tickets in defiance of a ruling from the state attorney general. On March 16, Attorney General Mark Brnovich ruled that it is a class one misdemeanor for a photo ticketing company to provide evidence for use in a court of law unless it holds a private investigator license (read opinion). Scottsdale's camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), is unlicensed. Unlike other cities that immediately suspended ticketing on March 16, Scottsdale officials held several conference calls with ATS to decide what to do.
"Okay," Scottsdale Police Lieutenant Robert Bonnette Jr emailed the ATS program manager on March 16. "We are looking into how we work tomorrow if this is how our legal just interpreted it to me."
Scottsdale did continue work the next day, and for a full week after the ruling until city photo ticketing program manager Darcy Nichols notified ATS about the need to shut down some, but not all, of the program's cameras.
"Per our earlier conversation via conference call, please discontinue the deployment of mobile and semi-portable speed enforcement until further notice," Nichols wrote in a March 23 email. "Additionally, please suspend all process service until further notice."
The mobile cameras were responsible for generating a significant amount of revenue. In February, the devices had generated 393 tickets. The final shutdown order for the speed and red light cameras mounted on poles at city intersections was not executed until March 28 at 3:25pm.
"ATS has ceased processing events for the city," ATS deputy general counsel Kristen Young wrote in a March 31 letter to Scottsdale. "This includes violation processing, affidavits processing and processing of returned mail. ATS has removed or otherwise ceased deploying all mobile speed units or transportable photo enforcement units. ATS has suspended all hearing support services, including preparation of evidence packages. ATS has disabled the cameras at all fixed sites."
ATS insists that the shutdown is only temporary and that it will either secure a change in the law allowing it to operate without a license, or it will obtain a license. The company even offered to only charge Scottsdale for ticketing services rendered up to March 16. Scottsdale officials emphasize that no new tickets were issued after the attorney general's opinion was received.
"The cameras were still powered on and functioning from March 16th through the 28th but no citations were issued from violations encountered during that time period," Scottsdale Police Sergeant Ben Hoster explained. "The cameras were turned off on March 28th."
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated tickets were issued after March 16. They continued to be processed after March 16 and the cameras were not shut off until the 28th.