Letter: Photo radar is full of loopholes
3/22/2013 9:58:00 PM
This is in response to the Courier's article on March 17, "Prescott Valley cop nixed wife's 7 photo radar tickets." For the record, I am a former policeman, deputy sheriff and Army M.P. I would apply the rule of law and discretion to officers I stopped for traffic violations as well as civilians. The articles outlined a practice by PVPD that involves officers dismissing tickets for family members.
One issue I have is that the only violator that can be cited is a registered owner, or owners, if they match the physical description on the driver's license of the registered owner. I guess this means that if a family member, friend, car thief, or anyone else not the registered owner gets a pass, no matter how serious it is. The exception to this would be if someone identified the driver after receiving a "Notice of Violation." I wonder how many times this has happened? In my career, I never let a traffic violator go because they were not the registered owner. This system produces a "protected class" of people, which is contrary to our rule of law.
Theoretically, as long as you don't match the registered owner's physical description, you are "technically liable" but you won't ever be held responsible. Traffic should be objective and non-discriminatory.
Also, when an officer issues a citation in person, you used to be required to sign it. By signing, you made a "contract" or promise to appear. If you violated the promise to appear, a judge would usually issue a warrant. With the photo radar system, you sign no promise. I can't find any reference to this issue anywhere, and people I have talked to, including a process server, had no answers. Perhaps the Legislature has passed some enabling law.
I know that when some municipalities in California started photo radar, they could not pursue a ticket if the violator ignored it. It was a well-kept secret from the public, but the vast majority did their duty and took care of the tickets. If anyone has an answer to this, for Arizona's system, I'd like to see it.