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5/31/2007
Australia: Speed Camera Operator Caught Watching TV
A Queensland, Australia speed camera operator violates guidelines by watching television on the job.

TV watching
A speed camera operator in the Brisbane, Australia suburb of Boondall was caught this week watching television while "observing" traffic violations. An old-fashioned rabbit ear-style antenna hung from the window of a stationary speed camera car as the device snapped away at vehicles traveling just a few km/h over the speed limit.

Queensland Police Service rules require that the operator of a speed camera make a visual estimate of each approaching vehicle's speed before issuing any citation. In practice, however, the device is entirely automated and operators can even leave the van unattended, as the Courier Mail newspaper documented in a case in Coolum.

This practice is not limited to Australia. The Weekly Standard magazine joined one of the Washington, DC police officers paid a salary by a camera vendor to sit in a "police" car that issues speed camera tickets. Officers praised the extra comfort features available on the speed camera car.

"You come in, set it up, sit back, read a magazine," Metropolitan Police Sergeant James McCoy told the magazine.

As of January, the District had issued 2,205,967 tickets worth $168 million with its photo radar system. Red light camera fines brought the total value of the District's automated fines to $217 million.

Source: Mystery antenna raises police slacker query (Courier Mail (Australia), 5/30/2007)

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