Baltimore is turning on a new set of speed cameras this week that will operate under new laws that officials say will make the system more reliable and less prone to errors than an old one that had to be shut down, reports the Baltimore Sun.
The city will operate 10 portable speed cameras near schools throughout the city, the first step in Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's plan to launch a network that eventually will include 20 speed cameras, 10 red light cameras, and a system designed to enforce a prohibition on trucks using certain streets.
Robert Liberati, a former Prince George's County police officer who is in charge of the system, said drivers should be confident that improvements in technology and the city's process for reviewing tickets will make the cameras much more accurate.
"There's been a number of changes that we've made," he said. "Number one, we have new equipment and this new technology. Second of all, we have a dedicated staff here at the Department of Transportation to review violations."
In 2014, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law imposing several new restrictions on jurisdictions that operate speed cameras. Among the changes was a ban on paying contractors a bounty for each ticket issued.
This time around the city has issued a $5.4 million contract to American Traffic Solutions to run the cameras for five years. Another firm has a $4.2 million contract to operate the red light and truck monitoring system. And a third company has been hired to calibrate the cameras.
Liberati, who previously ran the Prince George's County speed camera system, said each ticket will be reviewed first by staff at the contractor, then by members of his team at the Department of Transportation and finally by a city police officer. Drivers who have complaints will be able to contact an ombudsman, a position the city was required to create by the 2014 law, rather than having to go straight to court.