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Potential Corruption in Baltimore's Speed Camera System Exposed

Posted: Jan. 31st, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Baltimore Police

A technical loophole in Maryland law allowed Baltimore City to get away with paying a corporation to spot traffic violators, but in a serious bungle the city attempted to switch providers, giving the new company the cameras but no the software to operate them. This oversight led to the exposure of the city's payment policies, with possibly serious ramifications to follow.

Maryland law says that "if a contractor operates a speed camera system on behalf of a local jurisdiction, the contractor's fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid." Baltimore City, like some other jurisdictions around the state, has nonetheless paid the private firms that manage its camera system on a per-ticket basis. The way Baltimore officials and others around the state have justified this apparent contradiction is by contending that the government is, technically, the "operator" of the speed cameras, and the vendor is merely under contract to "provide support services."

Now, however, comes the news that, due to a bungled transition between one vendor and the next, Baltimore City's lucrative speed camera system has been offline altogether since Jan. 1.


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