DPS & State of Arizona Sued by Georgianni’s for Shooting Death of Van Operator

April 27, 2010


On April 16, the surviving spouse and beneficiaries of Douglas Georgianni filed suit in Superior Court seeking unspecified damages in the shooting death of Douglas Georgianni. Douglas was shot almost a year earlier by Thomas Destories while working for Redflex in a DPS-marked photo radar van.

The lawsuit alleges that a major contributing factor to be the DPS markings on the side of the Redflex owned and operated talivan. This gives the public the impression that the occupants are peace officers and that the vehicle is owned and operated by a police agency. When a police vehicle is driven by a civilian, it is supposed be clearly marked as such, typically with the words “Not in Service.” If this practice is not followed, it is considered to be a violation of ARS 13-2411, impersonating a peace officer. DPS is alleged to be negligent because they knowingly put civilian contractors in harm’s way by making them impersonate a peace officer as a regular part of their job. While contractors no longer occupy the talivans while parked on the highways (because of the shooting), civilian contractors are still driving and moving the DPS-marked vehicles.

Another major point in the lawsuit is the allegation that DPS knowingly put civilian contractors in harm’s way because they were aware of or should have been aware of attacks on photo radar van operators but did nothing to protect them. PhotoRadarScam.com had reported on several speed van attacks that occured before the shooting, so law enforcement and Redflex should have been fully aware of the propensity for the public to act out against these vehicles, not just locally but world-wide:


Thanks to Janet Napalitano, DPS, and photo radar, the state is now looking at what is likely to be a multi-million dollar judgement at a time when the state can least afford it.


Sign Making Party

February 4, 2010

They’re tattered. Some are outdated. Some aren’t bold enough and none were made just before the announcement of the Showdown At High Noon.

NOTE: I’M PUTTING OUT AN APB FOR ALL OF THE OLD SIGNS… PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE ANY.

Let’s make some new signs and enjoy some food and drink at the same time. Bring something to share and some supplies. You can probably guess where it is, but if not, check the meetup.

6:30 p.m. Friday, February 5th.


DPS 2009 Numbers Not All They are Cracked Up To Be

January 9, 2010


Local news outlets tonight are regurgitating DPS’ press release with 2009′s traffic statistics which show a significant decrease in crashes when compared to previous years. Naturally, the credit is all going to photo enforcement – completely ignoring other significant contributing factors and trends: fewer miles driven due to the economy and unemployment (and less-crowded roads), new, draconian DUI laws, stricter teen driver’s license laws, safer cars, improved roads, and more.

So we did some number crunching of their own, and the results are NOT surprising. Our neighbor Nevada, who isn’t using photo radar experienced a similar decline in crashes when compared to Arizona. Their data is available here, but unfortunately does not include December data (yet). Still, the numbers provide much-needed perspective. To arrive at these numbers, we summed the data from the Northern, Central, and Southern regional Nevada reports.

In the end, Arizona beat Nevada by only 5% in total crash reduction and 4% in road fatalities. Suddenly, the 26% reduction in fatalities isn’t the grand achievement DPS is trying to take credit for. Nevada came VERY close, and did it without scameras and talivans.

Another problem with the Arizona data is that the numbers are statewide for all DPS-investigated crashes. This includes thousands and thousands of miles of roads, but there are only 36 fixed camera locations and 40 mobile units distributed about the state, so the sphere of influence for the cameras is quite limited. Scameras can’t be credited for alleged improvements in locations where they aren’t installed or frequently present.

And while we’re at it… Have you ever wondered why the state doesn’t follow the advice set forth in ADOT’s speed limit information page? Despite understanding that the 85th-percentile speed is the safest speed, most roads around the state are set far below this standard. Kudos to Utah for trying to comply with this standard and actually raising limits with very positive results.

Update: See Fox news coverage of this store here.


9 Unforgettable Photo Radar Stories of 2009

January 1, 2010

Here’s to 2010 being the year the cameras come down! But first CameraFRAUD would like to take one last look at what made 2009 a tremendous year for news in photo enforcement. Enjoy!

1. Trash Your Tickets – In December of 2008, The New Times published an article letting Arizona Motorists know that they can legitimately ignore their photo radar tickets, without any repercussions. Of course, if a process server finds you, there’s an obligation to reply. The idea of ignoring tickets was repeated throughout 2009 and soon the entire system became overwhelmed with unpaid tickets. DPS, Redflex and ATS have no solution to this self imposed problem other than to issue more tickets and increase fines. Bravo!

2. Ban Photo Radar in AZ Initiative – In January, CameraFRAUD held a press conference at the State Capitol to announce the Initiative to Ban Photo Radar Statewide. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu was present and the first to sign. 153,000+ validated signatures are needed to put the initiative to a vote in November of 2010. The deadline to turn them in is July 2010 and we are well on our way.

3. Monkey Mask Motorist – Some may call him a scofflaw and others call him a brave dissenter. Whatever your judgment of the man is, he certainly captured the attention of DPS, Local Media and a public outraged by the photo radar scameras. His case is still pending but it’s clear that the Arizona Department of Public Safety wants to make an example out of him. They approached the flight attendant while he was at work with 37 civil traffic violations caught on camera. He maintains that he will not pay because there is no proof in any of the photos that he is the driver.

4. Sheriff Babeu Bans Photo Radar in Pinal County, Terminates Redflex Contract – In January, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu presented the County Board of Supervisors with his reasons for terminating the contract with Redflex and ending the program. This fulfilled Sheriff Paul’s campaign promise to rid his county of the scamera system. If only other elected officials were as true to their word as him!

5. Redflex Driver Shot and Killed inside van – While on duty in April, Redflex Van Operator Doug Georgianni was fatally shot from a passing vehicle on the 101 Freeway near 7th Avenue. The shooter was quickly apprehended by a DPS officer. He had apparently acted alone. The tragedy was later politicized by DPS Lt. James Warriner who stated that vocal criticism of Redflex had led to the murder.

6. Paradise Valley Ticket Fraud – In June, one of our volunteers realized that Paradise Valley had illegally shortened yellow light times at the intersection of Tatum and McDonald in an effort to create more violations to drum up revenue. After the city was called numerous times about the short yellow times, they were forced to admit that 1,063 tickets were issued illegally. The tickets were either canceled or refunded if they had been paid. This would have represented almost $200,000 in revenue to the city.

7. 3,600 Tickets Same Day Same Court - Our volunteers were tipped off, local media was alerted and the circus ensued. By a scheduling gaffe of epic proportions, 3,600 photo radar tickets were assigned to the same down town Phoenix Civil Court for the same day at the same time. Obviously logistics and simple physics would not allow for that many people to be herded through our court system like sweaty cattle in the July heat. Somewhat predictably, the number of people who actually showed was dramatically less than 3,600, but a gigantic line of those who did formed. CameraFRAUD volunteers were on site to capture the moment and collect signatures for the initiative. After all was said and done, about 100 people who were scheduled to appear in court actually showed.

8. State Legislature Fails To Ban Photo Radar - Many proposals and bills to ban photo enforcement and end the statewide freeway contract with Redflex, but they all died for one reason or another. Representative Sam Crump, Republican from Anthem was the most vocal and active opponent of the program but his efforts alone weren”t enough. Our elected officials proved that they are more concerned with filling the state’s coffers than about safety or the public good. It is more and more apparent that it will be up to the citizens of Arizona to impose the ban. November 2nd, 2010 could be the day that happens, if CameraFRAUD and Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar are successful in their public awareness and political activist campaigns.

9. CameraFRAUD vs Redflex Debate – In November, Shawn Dow squared off with Jay Heiler, Director of Government Affairs with Redflex, in a debate over photo enforcement hosted by the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. Heiler was the infamous Chief of Staff for Fife Symington while he was governor of Arizona. This was the first time that there was a sanctioned event pitting the scamera company with the volunteer organization. Both sides presented their arguments clearly but it was apparent from the beginning that Heiler was determined to poison the debate with his manipulative brand of corporate rhetoric and attack Shawn’s enthusiasm. Score the debate for the good guys.


Photo Enforcement Continues to Burden the Innocent

November 30, 2009

 

Don't Waste My Time

Don't Waste My Time

Innocent vehicle owners continue to be victimized, harassed, and burdened with erroneous photo enforcement tickets. Despite promises and claims by officials that all tickets are reviewed for accuracy prior to being issued, many obvious erroneous tickets are issued every day.

 

In this latest article in the Arizona Daily Star, we learn that the designer of the novelty plate ‘N JOY AZ’ who has the one and only real license plate on his vehicle constantly receives tickets that should have been issued to vehicles displaying the novelty plate. Despite obvious vehicle description mismatches and the fact that novelty plates are often placed on the fronts of vehicles rather than the rear, DPS, Redflex, and other scamera companies are unable or unwilling to let these discrepancies deter their quest for profit.

Novelty plates in the wrong location aren’t the only problems that scamera companies have with being correct. A couple in Wyoming tells us that Redflex has trouble telling the difference between a Wyoming truck and a car license plate.

Of course, there are the classic incidents where parked vehicles received speeding tickets in the Netherlands and the UK.

And then there are the incidents where the equipment malfunctions or is set wrong, like when 600 tickets in Scottsdale were tossed due to a faulty sensor.

Don’t speed and you have nothing to worry about? Think again… We ALL need to be worried about this theft of time and resources taken from the innocent drivers who are burdened with spending time and money and incurring expenses in order to clear their records.


Happy Birthday Photo Radar: DPS May Cut 350

October 13, 2009

Roger and Karen

DPS Director Roger Vanderpool seen mingling with Redflex's Karen Finley. Cops be damned: To these people, its all about the cash and cameras

Who didn’t see this one coming?

Arizona Department of Public Safety politicos outsourced their officer’s duties to an illegitimate, foreign-owned corporation on an unprecedented scale. When Redflex was granted the authority to take the department’s insignia and vehicle dress and apply it to photo radar vans, protecting life and property suddenly took a back seat to shareholder profit.

PHOENIX — Budget cuts could leave as many as 350 Arizona Department of Public Safety employees out of work, according to the DPS officers’ union.According to the union, the budget proposal sent to Gov. Jan Brewer calls for 250 rank-and-file patrol officers to be laid off.An additional 100 civilian support jobs would be eliminated, the union said.When asked for comment about the 15 percent reduction in budget, DPS declined.

DPS Dir. Roger Vanderpool, a strong supporter of photo radar and a Janet Napolitano appointee, probably won’t survive this fiasco at the agency: his contract is up in February.

Don’t worry, Rog: Redflex has a history of hiring former top cops.


DPS Corrupted from Photo Radar Cash?

October 8, 2009

Witness reports indicate this was a photo radar-related accident. Is DPS trying to keep these incidents quiet? (.pdf file)

Witness reports indicate this was a photo radar-related accident. Is DPS trying to keep these incidents quiet? (.pdf file)

Exclusive — Two serious accidents. Two remote areas. One common link: a photo radar van was there.

As DPS prepares to hail photo enforcement as the savior of Arizona’s highways once again, they may be covering up violent and deadly accidents actually caused by the cameras.

Earlier this month in Southern Arizona, a passenger vehicle collided with a school bus head-on, killing 3. While the accident occurred directly in front of a DPS-branded Redflex photo van, DPS wasted no time doing preventative damage control: “DPS says the van played no role in the accident…” reported KVOA, despite the early and incomplete nature of the investigation.

In July of this year, a serious collision occurred in a remote area near Cordes Lakes, AZ. Multiple witnesses provided written statements to DPS directly linking a nearby photo van as a component of the accident, with one witness going as far as listing a “white photo radar truck” as a vehicle involved in the accident. A report supplement filed by a DPS officer included the following narrative:

“All the witnesses reported seeing the gray… car loose [sic] control of the vehicle as it passed the photo radar van…”

Unlike real tickets written by real police officers, the Arizona Department of Public Safety actually gets a “cut” from each paid photo enforcement ticket. Now, during a time of budget nightmares and cutbacks, it appears DPS will do anything to protect that precious revenue stream.

Even if it means putting profit above public safety.

DPS is planning on releasing a photo enforcement “year end review”. The “results” are predictable, the numbers are cherry-picked, and the lies are all the same.

DPS claims reductions in accidents and fatalities in the 20% range within the Phoenix metro area can be directly linked to photo radar. They purposefully ignore the fact that traffic fatalities are reaching an all-time low nationwide, according to the NHTSA:

The U.S. DOT today announced that the number of overall traffic fatalities reported in 2008 hit their lowest level since 1961… fatalities in the first three months of 2009 continue to decrease. The fatality rate, which accounts for variables like fewer miles traveled, also reached the lowest level ever recorded.

In Clark County, NV, an area compatible to the density and population of Phoenix,  has seen a 19.4% decrease in fatalities during the same period. Nevada outlaws the utilization of automated ticketing schemes statewide.

DPS has tried to play these games before, resulting in even pro-photo radar organizations questioning the agency’s ways:

“…even the prominent motorist advocacy group AAA Arizona, however, have publicly questioned the methodology used to arrive at those conclusions. Linda Gorman, AAA Arizona’s director of public affairs, says there were many factors that could have resulted in a drop in collisions.

For instance, there were six-percent fewer drivers on the road in Maricopa County, equating to 10,000 fewer drivers per day on some stretches of highway, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. DPS also has made an effort to put more patrol officers on highways, all of which led experts to predict fatalities would drop by nearly 30 percent.

Gorman added that AAA supports photo radar… “Right now we’re experiencing an unprecedented proliferation of photo enforcement on our freeways, and it seems that it’s turned into one that’s more focused on the revenue.”

(DPS’) Graves admits the statistics released by DPS aren’t scientific or definitive…

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has publicly stated that photo radar money is “corrupting law enforcement.” A former DPS officer even went as far as to say he’s ashamed of his former agency for the blatant cash grab.

If DPS is proven to be cooking the books for favorable statistics or hiding photo radar-related accidents, the department stands to lose any remaining credibility it may still have.

The result? The actual officers and public safety will suffer if the people no longer trust the State’s highest-level law enforcement agency.


Layoffs at Redflex?

October 1, 2009

redflexVia email:

…Not sure if you have heard but Redflex is laying some people off.  This is due to them screwing the pooch on the DPS contract so bad.  Not sure how many but I was one of the first.  Too bad you really can’t see how the operation is run there.  Totally screwed up is a nice way of saying it…

It’s not just those low on the corporate ladder that might be looking for a new job at beleaguered photo radar and scam cam vendor Redflex Group. Shareholders are infuriated at the way the company has been run lately, and are attempting to oust the “leadership” team down under.

Don’t be surprised to see that shake-up have direct consequences for Redflex Traffic Systems, the pseudo Arizona/Delaware subsidiary of the Australian firm.

Occam's razor: This complicated workflow of photo enforcement doomed it from the beginning by combining the worst from government and industry.

Occam's razor: This complicated workflow of photo enforcement doomed it from the beginning by combining the worst from government and industry.

The statewide Arizona contract has been a nightmare from the start, going from being a halo project that could be used to sell other entire states, to a disaster entailing a huge investment of money just to deal with the sheer amount of equipment needed to surveil those driving within the Grand Canyon State.

Hiring a cop to write paper tickets is a simple, straightforward process. When you unnecessarily complicate a task, Occam’s razor kicks in and the system collapses under its own weight. Combine that with the typical bumbling bureaucrats in government and you have the same predictable result: failure.


DPS Doublespeak: Cameras Called “Onerous”

September 17, 2009

AZDPSRemember years ago when the City of Scottsdale decided to install photo radar cameras on the Loop 101, before the State of Arizona took over the project?

Before DPS was in a position to benefit directly from the money the cameras pull in, the tune seemed to be a bit different regarding officer response in areas where cameras are installed.

In a Phoenix New Times article from February 2007, a high-ranking official with DPS didn’t seem too pleased with the automated ticketing machines:

DPS Commander Tom Woodward says patrolmen found the Loop 101 cameras onerous. He said they may have put the public’s safety at risk.

“It deterred officers assigned to the East Valley from working that area,” Woodward says. “We still responded to calls, but officers were not in that area working traffic proactively as much as they were prior to photo enforcement.”

If Scottsdale’s small experiment on the Loop 101 with American Traffic Solutions may have put the public’s safety at risk, what does that say about the state’s massive contract with beleaguered Redflex Group?


Redflex Manual Available for Download

September 15, 2009

FLOWCHART OF FRAUD: Arizona drivers are punished more heavily than drivers from Canada or Mexico by DPS's automated ticketing machines.

FLOWCHART OF FRAUD

Follow Up

The internal document used as a reference guide by Redflex employees and obtained by CameraFRAUD is now available for download.

(azdps_redflex_procedure, pdf format, 1.2mb)

Previously only released to the media, the document is now available to everyone due to popular demand.

Discuss your take of the document in the comments section below.


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