Photo Unit Cop Caught Forging Documents

September 6, 2010

Geoffrey Jacobs (Photo: New Times)

A former officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s now-defunct Redflex “photo enforcement unit” was allegedly caught forging documents and using “state” resources — a DPS airplane — to stalk an ex girlfriend.

According to AZCentral, “[Geoffrey] Jacobs wrote a fake obituary regarding another ex-girlfriend and sent it to Hawaiian Airlines, along with a letter detailing how Jacobs was trying to cope with the “huge loss” of his fiancee. The letter was sent so Jacobs could transfer his ex-girlfriend’s ticket to another woman…”

If this officer was corrupt enough to forge documents for an airline ticket change, did any of the members of the public stand a chance when their citations were in his hands?

But wait, there’s more… This one’s for the “if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about” crowd:

He also was found to have abused DPS resources when he flew a state-owned plane over the neighborhood where he believed an ex-girlfriend lived in an attempt to locate her new home.
And who better to help run the accident-increasing photo enforcement scheme than an officer who had great first-hand experience causing accidents:
Jacobs joined DPS in late 2002. Less than one year later, he was served with his first letter of reprimand for an October 2003 wreck in Tucson. The next year, Jacobs was in another wreck and lost eight hours of vacation pay.

Jacobs, according to the New Times, “was the trooper who arrested Republican Party Executive Director Brett Mecum in May 2009 for criminal speeding. “

Now Jacobs is redefining irony, by suing the state over his dismissal. His claim? “…Defamation and violation of privacy and constitutional rights. “

Perhaps one would be more compassionate for the troubled cop if he didn’t work in a police unit that defamed and violated privacy and constitutional rights on an automated level.

With forgery, stalker-like surveillance, and dangerous driving supposedly under his belt, he would fit in well with the corporate criminal culture at Redflex Group.

(Should a full investigation into this officer’s role in the photo enforcement unit be conducted by AZDPS? Sound off in the comments section)

Another One For The “Each Ticket is Reviewed by an Officer” Folder

July 23, 2010

In photo enforcement programs across the country, the claims continue to be made that “each violation is reviewed by an officer” before a ticket is mailed. The reality is that violations are either NOT reviewed by officers or the standards of evidence are much lower than anyone would imagine. In many cases, the camera companies and the municipalities are just eager to bring in a check so they send out a ticket regardless of the consequences to the innocent.

Take this recent AZ DPS photo ticket, for example, where it is not even possible to distinguish any features of the driver whatsoever (click on photo to enlarge). This didn’t stop Redflex from mailing the bogus ticket in the hopes that someone who didn’t know better would help them boost their profit margins.

According to the IIHS, the driver of the vehicle is NOT the owner of the vehicle over 28% of the time, which means that photo enforcement has a built-in 28% identify error rate even before we consider equipment malfunctions, corporate-owned vehicles, missing/ineligible plates, and system and processing errors.

Imagine for a moment what this country’s founders would say about a law enforcement system with a built-in error rate greater than 1 in 4 where the recipient must prove that he wasn’t driving in order to be found innocent. Imagine if you would re-elect a local sheriff if their department arrested the wrong person over 28% of the time. When did Arizona decide that a law enforcement system that heavily burdens the innocent is what we want?

Oh that’s right, the people or Arizona have never voted on this issue! Jan Brewer: Put photo enforcement on the ballot!


DPS scameras still hiding in the shadows

May 19, 2010

One of our CameraFraud volunteers recently captured the below photo showing 2 DPS scamera vans hiding on a freeway, lurking in the shadows underneath an overpass.

This just goes to show that Arizona DPS continues to ignore recommendations issued by ASU Professor Simon Washington Ph. D. (and others), which state in part:

“the placement of cameras in close proximity to high information load locations (e.g., on- and off-ramps, underpasses, billboards, weaving sections, directional signs, etc.) should be avoided.”

“Placement of cameras in sight-restricted locations should be avoided.”

Of course, if it’s not about safety and all about the money, why would they listen to some silly suggestions comprehensive analysis from an ASU professor and colleagues?

Perhaps DPS is trying to rake in as much revenue as possible before they are forced to abandon the scamera game.

If you’d like to read more, we previously covered the ASU study in the following articles:
DPS vs. Prof.: At Odds Over Cam Locations
DPS and Redflex: No Regard for Human Life

Thanks to Stacey for capturing the photo used above.


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.


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