FINISHED: Redflex Cams “Coming Down”

July 12, 2010

Less than two years after the first freeway flash, almost a hundred fixed and mobile Redflex speed cameras will cease operation this week in a bittersweet outcome for both opponents and supporters of automated ticketing.

The disastrous program, which was met with significant resistance and became a political hot potato, was the only statewide program in operation within the United States.

Let us not forget or allow any politician from this day forward in any city, in any state, to ignore what even Redflex’s own investors referred to as “an expensive failure.”

Even more important to recognize is that not all losses can be accounted for on a balance sheet. The Arizona Department of Public Safety and Redflex allowed private citizens to drive and operate photo radar vans bearing the department’s emblems and likeness.

In April of 2009, Douglas Georgianni was shot and killed as he sat inside of one of the DPS-marked Ford Escapes, with not even a remote chance to defend himself from the attack.

DPS Lieutenant James Warriner then attempted to use the tragedy for shameful political gain by blaming anti-camera opponents, casting fault away from where it belonged: the shooter, and those who put Mr. Georgianni in harm’s way. (In one of the most underreported Arizona news stories of 2010, DPS is now facing a significant survivor’s lawsuit from the family of the victim.)

Business at Redflex continues as usual, with the company encouraging clueless municipal police and sheriff departments nationwide to lend them their insignia for the profitable mobile radar units.

With a ballot initiative to ban automated ticketing statewide failing to gather the required signatures, the return of the statewide freeway program is possible. While state officials cited increased public opposition and the possibility of a ban in their decision to not renew the contract with Redflex, the thought that public officials will do the right thing and avoid entangling alliances with dubious foreign-owned corporations is a pipe-dream.

Don’t let up now. Monitor the news for mentions of Redflex and ATS sneaking into new communities and email the city / town councils a link to this or other CameraFRAUD articles. Make them vividly aware that a vote for photo enforcement is a gamble against their political future, and that the backlash of the “cash flash” can be… fast.

While we celebrate some of the cameras coming down this week, CameraFRAUD won’t be going anywhere until all of… “The Cameras are Coming Down!”

Are you in? Join CameraFRAUD on Facebook today.


Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar Makes National Press

January 3, 2010

The Associated Press, New York Times and even the Drudge Report are all spreading the word about the nation-wide anti photo radar movement. Those at Redflex may not acknowledge that it exists, but we are pretty sure it does.

Paul Connors/Associated Press

It seems everyone is now finding out the dirty little secret of the absolute failure of the contract between Arizona DP$ and Redflex. You don’t have to take our word for it however. Just ask national media outlets. The AP first ran a story on December 30th about the program, mentioning Shawn Dow of The Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar.

“I see all the cameras in Arizona completely coming down ” in 2010, said Shawn Dow, chairman of Arizona Citizens Against Photo Radar, which is trying to get a measure banning the cameras on the November ballot. “The citizens of Arizona took away the cash cow of Arizona by refusing to pay.”

Enjoy your final 11 months in AZ, Redflex. Make sure to book your moving vans early.


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.


AZ DPS Facing $10M Cut

August 28, 2009

AZDPSThe Arizona Department of Public Safety, the principal co-operator of the statewide Redflex automated ticketing scheme, may be facing over $10 million in budget cuts according to KPHO.

While the agency is facing a situation where 97 sworn officer positions remain unfilled and possible elimination of 15 civilian jobs, absolutely no mention is made of cuts regarding the disastrous and unpopular photo radar surveillance program.

Earlier this year, during a threat of a state government shutdown, DPS indicated that they might have to end “non-essential” or lower-priority projects. DPS’s contract with Redflex was mentioned specifically as a possible victim of such cuts:

The agency is reviewing all non-essential functions in case the threatened shutdown becomes reality.

Profit over policing through the use of cameras is not unique to Arizona. Just recently in Kansas, officers were being taken off of the streets to work desk jobs relating to photo enforcement, prompting the police board to question if “…the cameras are becoming more of a burden than a useful tool.”


Redflex: Under Investigation

July 28, 2009

The house that Redflex built.

The house that Redflex built.

DPS to “find out if there’s an issue” after thousands set for same court date.

Lieutenant admits people choosing to ignore non-served tickets.

The lunatics at Redflex are in charge of the insane asylum of photo enforcement as DPS backs away from a public relations nightmare. Over 3,600 people were inexplicably set for the same court date in Phoenix, prompting an angry response from those who actually appeared and mounting frustration from court administrators.

Judge Rachel Carrillo told ABC15: “The clerks are completly overworked, very stressed. We have people very angry at our counters, some theatening. We are trying to get Redflex to work with us and not do what they did today.”

Unhappy judge? Check.

DPS Lt. Jeff King: “…and I’m looking into the data to see what, if there’s an issue. We don’t have that data right now.”

DPS throwing Redflex under the bus? Check.

More importantly: How could DPS “not have the data”? Each and every “notice” mailed out is “certified” by a reviewing officer. At least that’s what we’re told over and over again by industry flacks. Can you hear the foundation of automated ticketing cracking under its own weight?

The Lieutenant continued: “There are a lot of people choosing to ignore them until process service. Once it goes to process service it’s just like an officer issued the citation,” said King.”

Thank you, DPS, for finally admitting that the notices you send out have no legal standing unless properly served. It’s a refreshing change from Lt. James Warriner, who utilized scare tactics and falsehoods to imply that people’s licenses or registrations would be suspended due to an ignored, non-served ticket.


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