Cops angry about paying red light camera fines

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by CoolHand, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. CoolHand

    CoolHand Active Member

    Some Dallas texas police are angry that they are now being dinged $75 every time they blow through a red light and they're not on official business.

    Awwwwwww poor little po-po men. News Flash! The law applies to ya'll too! ... 51d8c.html

    Dallas police and firefighters will soon have to pay up if they run afoul of the city's red-light cameras.

    Starting Sunday, any Dallas police officer in a marked squad car who is captured on the city's cameras running a red light will have to pay the $75 fine if the incident doesn't comply with state law.

    Firefighters who run red lights will have to pay if they're not on an emergency run.

    Many police officers are angry about the proposed policy. The prevailing belief among officers has been that they can run red lights as they see fit.

    "I know that a lot of the officers are not real happy about it," said Senior Cpl. James Bristo, second vice president of the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police. "Nobody out here is just running red lights left and right."

    He said many police officers view the new policy as yet another thing they have to worry about.

    Under the state transportation code, officers driving a vehicle equipped with lights and sirens can run a red light when responding to an emergency call, pursuing an actual or suspected violator of the law, responding to a fire alarm, conducting a police escort, and directing or diverting traffic for public safety purposes.

    "Our policy is pretty clear that they have to drive within the traffic laws" except under those circumstances, said Police Chief David Kunkle, who is meeting with police association officials Thursday to outline the new policy.

    Since last year, 39 cameras have been placed at intersections, city officials said. Sixty cameras are scheduled to be up and running by May 22.

    Since mid-January, the cameras have recorded at least 355 emergency vehicles running red lights. Not all of those vehicles belonged to the city of Dallas. Notice is sent to the departments so they can determine whether the driver of the emergency vehicle had a legal reason to run the light.

    So far, the Dallas Police Department has received notice of 103 marked vehicles and six unmarked vehicles running red lights, said Lt. Sally Lannom, who helped draft the new policy.

    Eleven investigations of marked vehicles have been completed, and the officers were determined to be exempt from the fine because they complied with state law, Lt. Lannom said. "They were responding to an emergency call," she said.

    Out of the six unmarked vehicles, three officers were found to have run red lights without proper cause, Lt. Lannom said. They will have to pay the fines, she said.

    Cpl. Bristo said officers are worried that the policy won't have enough leeway and won't take into account extenuating circumstances.

    "I think what they're worrying about is what if it's 2 o'clock in the morning, you're headed to a call but it's not an emergency call," Cpl. Bristo said. "If I roll right through that light, I might save myself a minute or two. With some calls, that minute or two can make a lot of difference."

    Not running red lights when it appears safe to do so would affect a perennial area of concern for officers and Dallas residents: They want police to be at the scene of a crime, even a crime that is not life-threatening, as quickly as possible.

    One example illustrates the type of situation that concerns police commanders.

    Cameras recorded an officer on routine patrol not only running a red light, but also turning left from the center lane rather than from the turn lane. "He is being counseled in an effort to correct his driving," Lt. Lannom said. "We're looking at correcting the driving habits of officers."

    For the fire department, it's much more cut-and-dried, said Lt. Joel Lavender, a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman.

    "We don't really have a lot of business running lights, period," Lt. Lavender said. "If you mess up and you're not on an emergency run, you get a ticket. They're subject to the same penalty, in addition to being punished by the fire department."

  2. Adam5

    Adam5 Atlanta Overwatch

    If one or two minutes are going to make a difference, shouldn't this fall under legal authorization to run the light?

  3. Macktee

    Macktee New Member

    Normally, seeing cops break traffic laws with impunity grates on me, but I gotta go with them on this one. Rolling thru the light when there's no traffic is another "victimless crime" that doesn't hurt anyone.

    Even if they're not responding to a call, I'd rather have the cops moving about than waiting at an empty intersection for the light to change color.

    For that matter, I'd rather be moving myself than sitting at an empty intersection waiting for the light...
  4. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

    I'm fine with them doing it. So long as I can too.

    If we are a nation of laws and not men then they will be held accountable to the same laws as I.
  5. asbrand

    asbrand Active Member

    So...let me get this straight... The cops are whining that they now have to follow the law?

    *gasp* :shock:

    Whodathunkit? :roll:
  6. merlock

    merlock Active Member

  7. CoolHand

    CoolHand Active Member

    They ought to be fired. Just like that retard that filed stalking charges against the couple that complained about him speeding past their house all the time.

    Think about it. Do you want someone running around with a gun charged with enforcing the law when they assert that they are themselves above the law simply because they said so?
  8. merlock

    merlock Active Member

    No Camera needed here

    Here is one incident that cameras were not needed :shock:

    Police car crashes into Houston deputy's vehicle

    WARNER ROBINS --Two law enforcement patrol cars collided early Wednesday morning, sending both drivers to the hospital, authorities said.

    Warner Robins police officer George Witherspoon and Houston County sheriff's deputy James Eric Dixon were treated for minor injuries at the Houston Medical Center and released, authorities said. The collision occurred at 6:11 a.m. at the intersection of Houston Lake and Leverette roads in Warner Robins.

    Georgia State Patrol trooper Crystal Folds said Witherspoon failed to yield the right of way at a red light and crashed into the sheriff's department car. Dixon was traveling west on Leverette Road and had the green light, the trooper said.

    Witherspoon, who was responding to a call with blue lights flashing, failed to "use due regard" when entering the intersection, Folds said. The state trooper said she did not know how fast the car was traveling.

    Witherspoon was found at fault for failure to yield to the red light, Folds said, but no citation is expected to be issued by the state patrol.

    Warner Robins police Maj. John Wagner said Witherspoon has been placed on paid administrative leave.

    An internal affairs investigation to determine whether state law or department policy were violated is standard procedure whenever an on-duty officer is involved in a wreck, he said.

    Both cars were totaled in the wreck, authorities said.

    Wagner estimated the cost to replace a fully outfitted police car at $40,000.

    Asked whether the 25-year-old police officer had been involved in any previous crashes or disciplinary incidents, Wagner declined to comment.

    The officer, a member of the police force since December 2004, was responding to a call for assistance in investigating a crash involving a tractor-trailer and a car near the Galleria in Centerville, Wagner said.

    A 76-year-old Columbus man with two grandchildren in the car had rear-ended the truck, Wagner said. The officer working the crash had requested another officer to conduct a field sobriety test, he said. Police later learned the driver "had a medical condition that made them think he was DUI," Wagner said.

    "Asking for somebody to do a field sobriety test ... that is not an emergency response," the major added.