6/17/2013Louisiana: Cops Used Red Light Cameras For Personal Profit
Cops in New Orleans, Louisiana set up a company to earn extra personal cash from red light camera tickets.
Police officers in New Orleans, Louisiana filled their own pockets with red light camera cash by setting up a private company to "review" photo citations off the official clock. The city's inspector general, E. R. Quatrevaux, on Friday released a report documenting how Edwin Hosli, the New Orleans Police Department's (NOPD) 8th District commander, formed his own limited liability company called Anytime Solutions to take advantage of the lucrative business opportunity.
Over a four-and-a-half month period in 2010, Hosli pulled down $7420 from the arrangement for himself. The inspector general released documents not included in the report that show Hosli and several other officers overbilled ACS by $9075. Hosli's share of that was $2055, according to the documents.
"It is against NOPD policy for an Officer to form an LLC for the purpose of managing a detail," Quatrevaux wrote. "It is also an ethics violation for a city of New Orleans employee to contract with the city of New Orleans."
The unusual arrangement began with the city's contract with Affiliated Computer Services (ACS, now Xerox) to collect parking tickets. In 2010, the red light camera vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) subcontracted photo ticket collections to ACS, a firm that would ordinarily would be considered a competitor since it also runs turnkey red light camera programs in other jurisdictions.
Another unusual aspect of the program came about when then-Police Chief Warren Riley insisted no on-duty police officers could be spared to "review" the photo tickets generated by ATS and processed by ACS. As a result, ACS began using a off-duty officers who were paid to approve tickets as part of what became known as "Hosli's detail officers." Robert Mendoza, then the head of the city's public works department, was responsible for setting up the deal.
"Mendoza admitted that he violated procedures by not notifying his superiors that he was expanding ACS's contract," Quatrevaux wrote. "He also admitted that he again violated procedures by not bringing this to the attention of the city council, for the purpose of expanding ACS's contract."
Officials meeting about the issue decided payments for the detail should be laundered through the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, a tax-exempt organization that describes itself as "dedicated to supporting the people and processes of the criminal justice system in New Orleans." Instead, ACS paid Hosli's company directly. After investigators got wind of what happened, the kickbacks were terminated.
"It should be noted that immediately upon notification, the NOPD placed the responsibility of the red light camera image review with on-duty traffic division officers," Quatrevaux concluded.
A copy of the report is available in a 160k PDF file at the source link below.