Fun with DPS Public Records Requests

Getting an eyeful

Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work, being used to monitor political opposition.

It’s no secret that CameraFRAUD demonstrations have been closely monitored by Redflex’s enforcement arm, also known as the Arizona Department of Public Safety. More specifically, I’ve always felt a little insulted that the DPS would take three officers off the streets during rush hour traffic and reassign them to conduct blatant surveillance on a peaceful protest.

As such, I wanted to know what information they were looking to gather from their surveillance , so I asked. I submitted a polite letter, cited the right statutes, and a means to contact me. Just to make it official, I sent it via certified mail. Behold, DPS’ response…

That’s it? Forgive me if I’m a little skeptical. Am I to believe that DPS sent three cops to watch a protest, through binoculars, during a state-wide budget crunch, and there’s no paper on this?

I received this response from DPS in a very timely manner. The request was dropped in the mail on May 26th, received by DPS on May 27th. And in the space of two days, they fire off a response? This, despite the fact that DPS’ website specifically states to expect a 15 to 20  day wait for requests to be processed.

DPS’ Public Records Unit is either really on the ball, or the request was just rubber-stamped with a generic, ‘stop asking questions and leave us alone’ response. See more of DPS’ surveillance pics here.

Editor’s Note: Perhaps the time for a follow-up letter is in order. They acknowledge being at the event, so the question now becomes “who gave the order to surveil such an event, and what was the motivation for such an order?”

12 Responses to Fun with DPS Public Records Requests

  1. geez says:

    Sorry they couldn’t fulfill your narcissistic needs.

    • James S says:

      They must have been too busy fulfilling their own narcissistic needs by shutting down a major freeway to re-enact the shooting of a scam-van driver:

      Phoenix, AZ
      1,121 Volunteers

      Welcome to CameraFRAUD. We are united in our effort to get rid of every speed camera, red light camera, and photo radar van here in Arizona and across the country. We were suc…

      Check out this Meetup Group →

    • James S says:

      …And for a reality TV show, nonetheless.

  2. geez says:

    Figuring out a murder is narcissism?
    New low james, new low for you…

  3. I am going with the “form-letter” theory. There is no one out there to stand up to DPS on this matter except for the State Legislature, the governor’s office and this political activist group. So far we are the only ones doing our job.

  4. Stacey says:

    Well, someone in a uniform was videotaping us.

  5. Along the lines of fun with DPS, here is a response I got about whether they physically arrest or just mail criminal speeding photo tickets:

    Actually on criminal speeding citations it is the exception rather than the rule that an in-custody arrest takes place or is made. We apply very much the same theory regarding whether to “arrest” or “cite and release” as a patrolman on the street would when s/he pulls a vehicle over in the field for the same offense.

    As you can see by reading the statute below, on the rural highways where the speed limit is 75 and speed in excess of 85 mph results in a possible criminal citation. On our urban highways and school zones where speed is in excess of 20 mph over the limit the charge can also be criminal.

    Officers make stops on speeders that meet the minimum criminal threashold every day and issue citations and release the driver. Photo Enforcement (PE) systems also detect speeders which meet this threashold and criminal citations are processed by DPS officers and mailed to them just like the civil citations, a cite and release.

    In both the case of a patrolman making a traffic stop and PE personnel reviewing violations where the criminal speed meets those “extremes” where a reasonable person believes the act is reckless, involves racing, committed with extreme disregard for the laws enacted by our legislators and policy makers, and/or where the likely hood of the defendant showing up for an arraingment is in question, a physical incustody arrest may be warranted. Very few extreme violators do so with the intent of being caught and prosecuted.

    Each situation is wieghed on its own merits with regards to how the act effects the safety of the motoring public, chance of the defendant continuing to commit the violation if not taken into custody, and the likely hood of the suspect showing up for an arraingment if cited and released.

    Usually it is not any one of the aforementioned reasons that cuases the arrest but the totality of the circumstances. As an example, a person who has ignored 3 previous citations for speed travelling between 100 and 105 might be arrested while a person who only gets one might be mailed a citation and given the oportunity to contact the court without being taken into custody. A person who is apprehended driving 105 on a rural freeway with no unusual road hazards, no other traffic, no likely hood of entering traffic or people would be looked at differently than a person driving 105 in an urban setting where businesses are open, freeway on and off ramps are close together and where they are interacting and affecting other traffic on the road.

    To date only 55 criminal violators have been arrested and taken into custody while approximately 2919 criminal citations have been mailed. Almost always the in custody arrests involve speeds over 105 mph, multiple violations over 100, reckless driving, and/or racing on the highway.

  6. Joe says:

    Get more specific in your records request. Each officer writes detailed reports of ALL their on-duty activity. They pull a guy over? They write a report (in addition to the ticket). They document EVERYTHING.

    You can also seek the documentation that SENT the officers into the field. The watch commander most likely wrote a report regading who he sent and why (and for what reason).

  7. guttersn1pe says:

    Another enlightening request would be for MDC (the computers in their vehicles) messages. It’s a lot like text messaging and officers often send things they really shouldn’t.

  8. Here’s a good one we can and should issue.

    We need to ask for DPS’ audit record of the camera systems. My guess is that DPS has never bothered to audit or check-up on any of the Redflex equipment in the 8+ months they’ve been up. I think that would be quite newsworthy.

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