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City Police Say Understaffing Is Behind Faulty Speed Camera Citations

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Ritchie Rochelle 175x131 L Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Faulty speed cameras. Baltimore’s top cop spoke publicly for the first time about the flood of inaccurate speeding tickets landing in local mailboxes.

He said his officers rushed through their reviews and made big mistakes.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the police department’s planned reforms.

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts called the mistakes unacceptable and said there will be changes in staffing and the review process.

Since their first installation, Baltimore City drivers have despised the extra eyes on the road

“It blew my mind to get three tickets like that back-to-back-to-back,” said one driver.

And when a report showed the cameras were issuing false tickets last month, that didn’t sell with drivers or Batts.

“Something’s wrong with them,” said one driver.

“We’ve made some mistakes on reviewed citations,” said Batts.

Last month, Xerox State & Local Solutions, the city’s former speed camera vendor, admitted several of Baltimore City’s cameras had an error rate of more than five percent.

“We’re confident there are no errors in the radar readings itself,” said Xerox managing director Allen Shutt.

Instead, the company blamed the false tickets on human error.

Batts tells WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun, the mistakes have been due to understaffing.

One officer is responsible for reviewing nearly 1,200 automated citations per shift. That’s nearly six tickets per minute or one ticket reviewed every 10 seconds.

With the assembly line of tickets moving at rapid speed and officers having little time to get a better look, drivers like Crystal Mason were hit with a $40 fee that she believes she didn’t deserve.

“I know I don’t drive the speed they said I was driving,” said Mason.

“No one, including myself, wants to get a ticket for something you did not do,” said Batts.

Batts said a new system and more officers will be added to the review process, as well as extra training, supervision and auditing.

“The impact for having to pay something like that is unacceptable so we have to go back and check that,” said Batts.

Baltimore City police plan to increase staffing for the review process by Jan. 25.

A new vendor, Brekford Corp., took over operations of the speed camera system on Tuesday.

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