Saturday, March 08, 2008


Fining Montgomery County's Finest

Good for the Union!

“Among the thousands of drivers who have been issued $40 fines after being nabbed by Montgomery County's new speed cameras are scores of county police officers. The difference is, many of the officers are refusing to pay.

“The officers are following the advice of their union, which says the citations are issued not to the driver but to the vehicle's owner -- in this case, the county.” Montgomery's Finest Won't Pay Fines

The union is right; it’s the owner that is initially held responsible.

“The photographs will then be processed and the license plate will be reviewed to identify the registered owner. The owner will be sent the citation, which will include copies of the violation photos and the marked vehicle speed.” MC Department of Police - Speed Camera FAQs

But obviously, Montgomery County wasn’t driving the car – an individual police officer was. Shouldn’t the officer have to pay?

“Manger is demanding that officers pay the fines, a request that has met stiff opposition from union leaders and has been ignored by some sergeants who were asked to investigate whether officers nabbed by the cameras had a valid reason to speed.

"We are not above the law," Manger said in an interview. "It is imperative that the police department hold itself to the same standards that we're holding the public to."

That would be Police Chief J. Thomas Manger…to whom I would refer his department’s website:

Q: What if I wasn’t driving my car at the time of the violation? Am I still responsible for paying the citation?

A: The law provides that the registered owner must provide a signed affidavit that states they were not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation and provide the name, address and, if possible, the driver’s license identification number of the person who was driving at time of the violation. The police have the discretion to then forward the citation notice to the person identified by the registered owner.”

The article doesn’t mention whether the County has, in fact, provided the signed affidavit and, if so, whether his police have then exercised their “discretion” to forward the citation notice. I’m guessing they haven’t which means the union is probably giving their members good advice.

Side Notes I: Q: What is the goal of automated speed enforcement?

A: The goal is to decrease speeding violations and crashes and, as a result, prevent injuries and save lives.”

Who’s kidding who? That’s just the sales pitch. The goal is revenue enhancement. With all the wailing and gnashing of teeth here in this bastion of liberal group-think regarding monitoring of suspected overseas terrorists, you’d think actual closer-to-home examples of the state monitoring its citizenry would provoke a bit more reaction.

The Maryland state Bar is always whining about us working for social justice and doing it pro bono - if the officers need some legal help on this matter, they can contact me at

Side Notes II: You can always go online and figure out just where these cameras are: MC Department of Police - Speed Camera Locations

This may be the only time I've ever sided with a union.

Weren't these traps originally only going to be set up around schools--to protect "the children"? One was set up on River Road twice in the same week and nowhere near a school. You're right, it's a money grab.

thanks Will
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