For those who Hate Speed Cameras and MPD Telling it Like it is Part Two

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

Thought you’d enjoy this bit of news from MPD:

“Based upon the fact that this particular camera [at 7th and Franklin NE] has been knocked down several times, MPD determined that we could not risk it being damaged. We had to permanently remove it and we will augment with mobile enforcement vehicles.”

A member of the listserv responds:

“I appreciate the MPD answers but it hardly speaks well for policing that the response to a vandalized speed camera is to remove it. If my house is broken into, am I supposed to remove myself from the city in order to be safe?”

MPD telling it like it is:

“Sir, the speed camera was not vandalized, it had been struck a number of times by vehicles. Based upon the cost associated with the repairs and maintenance, it was determined that it could be positioned elsewhere and we would augment that area with mobile and fixed vehicle enforcement units.

Should vehicles continue to strike your home or other buildings on your property, I am certain that you would evaluate the position of these dwellings and fortify the property boundaries and/or you may in fact elect to move.

If your house was broken into, most would take proactive steps to fortify and secure your home in an attempt to eliminate break ins from occurring again. Should you be victimized repeatedly, you may in deed elect to move from the city in order to be/feel safe.

To maximize our flexibility and impact, the Metropolitan Police Department is using both non-fixed speed enforcement cameras and fixed-location cameras to monitor aggressive speeding. Speed camera enforcement zones are selected by the MPD based on recent incidents of speeding-related fatalities and crashes, proximity to school zones and other places where children or other vulnerable populations may be present, and known sites of chronic speeding. The deployment of the non-fixed speed camera units is at the sole discretion of MPD traffic safety experts.

Some like the fact that speed cameras are permanently placed and they see a noticeable reduction in speed by most motorists. We also hear the down side. Motorists that exceed the posted speed limit are faced with no discretion in receiving notices of infraction. All that violate are issued notices of infraction, even your police, fire and EMS vehicles.

Some still like the visibility that a traffic patrol officer brings. That traffic patrol officer has discretion in issuing verbal and written warnings but also has the authority to issue multiple citations during a one traffic stop. The down size is that you are stopped and detained roadside for a period that may exceed 10 minutes and experience that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing if the traffic patrol officer will cite you or not. Traffic stops by mobile enforcement units also have a calming effect on traffic and serve as an immediate deterrent to actually slow down other commuters.

I have also heard that “speed cameras promote economic fascism, not public safety”. We want you to know that we actively listen to you and those we serve and protect. MPD has brought forth technology, tools and staffing in an attempt to reduce, with a goal of eliminating, speeding vehicles that threaten your safety and our community. Please understand that no one program will fit all.”

46 Comment

  • Great response, MPD. Thanks for all you do.

  • Yeah, this is good stuff. There are way too many people who can’t seem to read or think properly when police matters are being discussed.

    • I think you’re being too critical of the listserv member. If I had seen the original MPD comment about the camera being “knocked down several times” I would have thought it was vandalism too.

      • Perhaps I’ve overstated a bit, but there are way to many people who jump at the chance to criticize before they have carefully read the available information and thought it through. If you want to make assumptions that’s fine, but your assumptions may be wrong. You should try to find that out before taking pot shots, not after. If you don’t, I’m not going to get upset if you are publicly embarrassed.

        • A stretch, but okay.

          • “Yeah, this is good stuff…” Nah, I got you just fine. Nice backpedal, though.

          • …because it criticizes the same person that I’m criticizing. Either you’re inredibly stubborn or incredibly stupid. Maybe both. (Also didn’t manage to reply in the right place, but no matter.)

        • It seems a bit more publicly embarrassing for the MPD to issue an easily misinterpreted statement regarding a camera that they evidently couldn’t figure out how to place properly after multiple attempts. To then follow that up with a missive that is snide, poorly written, and riddled with inappropriate and logically inconsistent analogies in a failed attempt to be clever, strikes me as even more publicly embarrassing. And, finally, the fact that the MPD would allow this drivel to be drafted by an employee at all, let alone without the review of someone capable of editing it properly, is grossly embarrassing.

          • I wouldn’t feel “publicly embarrassed” for misinterpreting an unclear statement.

          • I diagree wholeheartedly, you already knew that.

          • disagree as wholeheartedly as your precious little heart can, dude; that doesn’t constitute anything approaching a substantive rejoinder to the criticisms of your earlier, and equally weak, comments.

          • Jeez. This from the same person who is accusing someone else of “promptly proceeding to make himself look like an aggressive moron”. You know, it’s OK if we disagree, it doesn’t bother me. But you’re doing the same thing that you say is not OK for someone else. That kind of bothers me.

          • and reflexive and repeated defense of inane behavior by law enforcement officials bothers me. Lets’ call it even, brah.

          • Ah, now I see what’s happened. You didn’t actually get what I said. Go back and read my posts (Anon 2:40 and 3:18, just to be clear). I’m not defending the police, I’m criticizing people who (in my opinion) “can’t read or think properly.” If I’m doing anything reflexively it’s criticizing the critics. Maybe you think attacking one side is the same thing as defending the other, but it’s not – I have no particular loyalty toward law enforcement, but I don’t care for people who have too much confidence in their own assumptions.

          • saf

            Written material from MPD often makes it obvious that officers, rather than writers, are responsible.

      • yeah, you got me, Ace. You get the power up and win the game!

        • Eh, not very fulfilling after all that actually. I feel like I’ve been arguing with a 15-year-old. Nobody really wins that argument. I did have time to kill though so that’s a plus.

          • make lousy, smug, and unsound statements, backtrack on them, call others stupid and declare victory when called out on it, and then do all of that over again. You’ve got all the bases covered. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

          • You can only back up two of those things with actual evidence. Three others are at best a matter of opinion. One was actually something you did, not me. And one never happened. If you want to bring this back to discussion of the topic of the post, I’d be up for that, but otherwise I think I am satisfied.

    • Yeah, I guess it was silly to assume the police would install a speed camera in a place where speeding cars wouldn’t hit it repeatedly.

    • I’m going to take the time out to respond to this as well because I’ve been probably the most vocal on here against speed cameras.

      I can recall a time when speed cameras were not in use anywhere in the country. Sure accidents happened, that’s why they’re called accidents. Now cameras are everywhere in DC and many other states. I think the reason why states should justify cameras should not be just blindly citing public safety, the reason should be backed by statistics, other states that don’t use cameras should be cited with factual numbers on how our incidents are less now that cameras are put in place. I’m pretty sure that the numbers would prove cameras largely ineffective. If everyone could follow speed limits, then there would be no camera revenue to pay for the massive expansion that’s occurred, proving that camera placement is indeed driven by the money they have made.

      Cops have discretion, they see the worst and most flagrant offenders and issue additional citations, they also catch drunk drivers and take them off the streets at the times violations occur, making that method (when done right and judiciously) much safer than cameras that indiscriminately issue tickets to everyone, while also NOT making repeat violations count. It’s lazy policing, and money making.

      Here we are talking about ONE CAMERA, not the countless others that basically have very few rules and regulations governing them, while the rules and regulations that govern us are being levied at an alarming rate, and indiscriminately enforced against us in an arbitrary manner, also overloading the court appeals system.

      I guarantee you this method of enforcement will overgrow itself until it creates more distrust for government and outrage from drivers as their costs of living rise. These cameras are also placed strategically in many lower-income communities rather than higher income communities. I think if anyone truly monitored where these cameras were placed, they’d find a whole new case of economic discrimination by government.

      Like I stated in the last thread, if things were more fair and transparent, with a dedicated web site for statistics on how cameras make us safer, I’d feel better about this, but the proliferation of the illusion that cameras make us safer worries me greatly. It will hurt tourism, raise costs for transportation businesses, and cost everyone more in the long run. They don’t hurt the rich as much as they hurt lower income families, and the rich are the ones who think they work best.

      The driving force behind my concern is not me. I haven’t had a speed camera ticket in over 5 years, it’s my mom, who hasn’t ever had a speeding ticket nor an accident in over 20 years (knock on wood) until after speed cameras were launched. She still has no accidents (knock on wood) and that alone should be an indication of a good driver (which only a real cop could tell by running her license plate) leading to a clear case of discretion.

      These fines will only get higher, and camera placement will only become more sketchy and opportunistic, tourism, car sales, costs of goods transported on roadways, and all travel will be stifled by high costs associated with driving, and they will become so prevalent that people driving in front of you will slam on their brakes when they see cameras (and you’ll rear-end him) until this opportunistic and knee-jerk response to place cameras everywhere ends.

      • I’m worried about your mom too. I’m worried about everyone’s mom, brother, sister, son, daughter. They all deserve to use the roads as safely and easily as I do – that’s why I follow the rules of the road and expect them to do the same.

  • How does one obtain the job of snarky MPD writer? I would love to be able to do that at my job with some of the ridiculous emails/phone calls I receive.

    • Am I missing something? The MPD response is a long winded and a bit defensive, but snarky?

      • I’m not sure I follow the “for those that hate speed cameras” part either. If anything, it sounds like the guy was disappointed that the camera was being removed.

        • Scrillin

          I think it was to celebrate that the camera is being removed – gotta keep those Marylanders moving.

  • needlessly snide and poorly written. I guess there’s a “down size” to everything.

    • +1 Turning around the house burglary analogy was immature and unnecessary in light of the clarification he provided.

      • Scrillin

        Yeah he really is “telling it like it is”:

        If your house keeps getting broken into, move out of DC. Don’t bother calling us.

        Also, why the hell was the camera getting hit so much? I used to go to Franklin Market all the time back-in-the-day, and cars (mostly commuters) fly down Franklin. It’s definitely necessary, and don’t gimmie that crap about “traffic patrol”, because if their work at 14th & K is any example, they’ll just be texting and standing around like normal.

  • andy

    Wait, who’s against economic fascism? And what is that again?

  • What I REALLY want to know is who the heck is running into that camera w/ a vehicle? It was placed here: You’d have to be doing some seriously screwed up driving to run into it.

    • Scrillin

      I wouldn’t be surprised if it was MPD themselves – they used to park at that spot all the time. Look around on the street view, and you can even see them parked on the sidewalk on the other side of the street.

  • I can just imagine this officer writing “Sir,” and then sitting back and cracking his knuckles in anticipation.

  • “Poorly written”? Gimme a break. If folks think the MPD response is poorly written, the you people have not seen poor writing.

    • I’ve seen poor writing, terrible writing, abysmal writing, etc. I’ve seen a guy get stomped by some frat bros in Georgetown, and I’ve seen a guy get stabbed downtown. Just because there might be things out there that are worse than the thing being discussed doesn’t save the thing being discussed from being a bad thing. And this tripe the MPD put out is bad. But maybe my perspective is just the “down size” of expecting a law enforcement organization to meet minimal standards of competency with grammar.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    “All that violate are issued notices of infraction, even your police, fire and EMS vehicles.”

    Since you’re not allowed to travel any faster than the rest of us, how about you turn off all those annoying sirens that you’re so fond of blaring in our neighborhoods? You’re just creating noise pollution which has been linked to cognitive decline, stroke, heart problems, and a bevy of other afflictions.

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    “All that violate are issued notices of infraction, even your police, fire and EMS vehicles.”

    Since you’re not allowed to travel any faster than the rest of us, how about you turn off those annoying sirens that you’re so fond of blaring in our neighborhoods unnecessarily? You’re just creating noise pollution which has been linked to cognitive decline, stroke, heart problems/failure, and a bevy of other afflictions.

Comments are closed.