A Letter to the Editor in The Ledger today told of an incident in which a car's owner received a citation for allegedly running a red light in another community even though the car that was ticketed reportedly had never left the garage. While I cannot speak for the facts of this referenced case, I do feel it is important for the public to understand the process used by LakelandPD to ensure accuracy in our red light camera violations.
Our officers are really the second layer of quality control as the RLC company focuses on accuracy up front. The company rejects violations at the front end of the process if the tag on the image does not match the vehicle make/model on the tag registration check. We never get to see those events. But assuming one slips through, our officers also validate the tag seen in the video and the registration check match. Here is the process they use.
Officers reviewing RLC cases first look at a before and after image of the event to validate the car's positioning at the time the traffic light turns red constitutes a violation. The officers then look at an image of the tag and compare it to the tag run by the RLC company. This is where we ensure accuracy of the citations. The tag on the video image must match the tag listed as being run for a registration check. Errors at this stage result in no violation citation being authorized.
Upon confirming the tag in the photo matches the tag being run, officers then verify the car's registration matches the vehicle caught running the red light. It is only after these steps are completed do our officers view the streaming video to watch the entire violation occur. Officers at that point then determine if a violation occurred or not.
It is important to remind folks that anyone receiving a violation citation in the mail is able to log into the Internet-based system and see their violation, including the tag on the vehicle caught running a red light.
These steps are designed to eliminate as much as possible the chance that an owner will mistakenly receive a red light camera citation. Now having said that, we certainly understand that a mistake may occur. We want to correct any errors caused by us not correctly matching the tag seen in the video image with the tag registration run by the company.
We expect the error rate, however, to be very, very small.
- Asst Chief Bill LePere