Dead Baltimore Cop Signed and 'Certified' Red Light Camera Tickets

from the zombie-tickets dept

Joseph was the first of a few of you to point us to the story of how the police in Baltimore have been sending out thousands of redlight camera tickets that were signed and certified by a police officer who died last fall. The law requires that each of the tickets be reviewed and certified by a human before being sent out. The fact that they were done so by someone who was deceased for many months would seem to suggest that no one was actually reviewing these tickets. The police department insists that it was just a “computer glitch,” and that the tickets were reviewed and certified, but they seem to be saying “trust us.” I would imagine that anyone who got one of these tickets is likely to be able to get out of it in court by pointing to the deceased officer’s “certification.”

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Comments on “Dead Baltimore Cop Signed and 'Certified' Red Light Camera Tickets”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:


“The police department insists that it was just a “computer glitch,” and that the tickets were reviewed and certified, but they seem to be saying “trust us.””

Trust you? Absolutely not. After all, you’re ZOMBIE COPS! You don’t trust zombies, you place a bullet in their heads. I expect Woody Harrelson to show up shortly and take care of business….

Dean Landolt (profile) says:

I would imagine that anyone who got one of these tickets is likely to be able to get out of it in court by pointing to the deceased officer’s “certification.”

How? That’s the grand scam. These people already paid up. It’s not like they can escalate this to a higher court. It seems to me these tickets are being treated as tolls — very expensive tolls. And sadly, people seem fine with it.

Ron (profile) says:


How does a computer glitch explain that an apparently dead police office signed and certified the tickets? The computer signs for the officer? Then the human did not do it. The officer tells the computer that it’s ok to sign and send the ticket? Then someone was logging on with the credentials of the dead officer. Either way, a lie. “Computer gliches” almost never explain the actual problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Glitch

What you are missing is “did the officer sign it, or was it just his name put in the right box”?

I doubt the officer actually signs each one by hand. So likely it is “push this button to approve” and the ticket is issued. Officer dies, is replaced, nobody notices that they didn’t update the name in the computer that is being applied to these tickets.

They may have been using the same login, and someone didn’t change the user information, example.

There is plenty of ways and reasons for this to happen, none of which are nefarious or show that people aren’t checking tickets. So the rest of the story is just sort of nothing. typical of Mike Masnick, focusing on a small technical error to throw out an entire system.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Glitch

As a minimum, this story shows that there is a lack of discipline within the law enforcement office responsible for issuing these tickets. This is self evident. Not sure why you feel the need to make excuses for them.

The article seems to imply that an officer reviews the evidence and then gives the go ahead to the company which operates the red light system for the city, and that it was this company which failed to change the “signature” placed upon the corespondence. Why bother with the signature when it is fake?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Glitch

No, at minimum is shows that computer systems involve a bunch of people, and occasionally things get mucked up. It is unlikely that the officer doing the reviews and approvals actually saw the printed end result ticket before it was sent out, just like any automated system, the printing, enveloping, and mailing takes place in a mail room somewhere.

It isn’t even clear if the “signature” was in fact a signature, a computer replica, or just the officers name in the box.

It really is just Mike jumping up and down in another dull anti-government rant.

Sean T Henry (profile) says:

Re: I guess they didn't fall for it...

At one of my last jobs we had a guy call in coma. The call went something like this “Hi this is Brad’s brother, Brad wrecked his car last night and is in a coma so he can’t come in, he should be there tomorrow.” Needless to say Brad was at work the next day driving his car that looked like it had never even been dented.

jilocasin (profile) says:

How many less obvious tickets have gone through?

The question I would have, if I was living in that town, would be just how many _not_so_obvious_ bogus tickets were sent out?

The only reason people noticed was because dead people don’t certify tickets, or vote (obligatory Chicago reference not withstanding).

Personally, I think a complete audit of all the tickets needs to be done.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How many less obvious tickets have gone through?

>>Personally, I think a complete audit of all the tickets needs to be done.

Exactly. Someone is obviously impersonating an officer.

I am not familiar with the law in Maryland, but this should probably carry some sort of fine and/or jail time.

If Joe Citizen did the same thing, there’d be dire consequencies and he’d be told to “Get a lawyer and tell it to the judge.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Failure like this should require an audit and re-certification.

Right now, in question is if the damned things were actually certified. With an issue like this, it should immediately spawn a comprehensive review of a law enforcement agency’s organization, management, operations and administration.

Additionally, Citizens should be demanding their own independent audit of the records, down to paystubs of the “certifying authority”

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

A Scam Coming Unglued.

There is a story that one of the more ingenious bank swindles came to light when a messenger service delivery boy chose to take an unscheduled holiday. The drafts he was carrying did not arrive on time to cover other drafts, and the whole complicated system of check-kiting collapsed. The same kind of breakdown often happens when someone dies.

That said, it seems quite likely that the Baltimore Police Department may be guilty of tens of thousands of counts of perjury or forgery, as the case may be. The implication is that the department handed out stacks of signed blank attestation forms for the commercial contractor to fill in. The commercial contractor didn’t get the word that the officer in question had been killed, and went on using his name, just as they had been doing before his death. Obviously, to them, the officer in question was just a name on a piece of paper. It will probably emerge that someone at headquarters called the officer in a couple of years ago, and had him provide a dozen or so signatures to program an automatic check signing machine, or something like that. When they go through the documents the man is purported to have signed, he will probably prove to have been demonstrably elsewhere on many occasions, even before his death.

Harrekki (profile) says:

This is Baltimore

Come on, This is Baltimore.
We don’t wear shoes because they are comfortable here, we wear them to avoid picking up Syphilis.
A rare place, where crabs can both be eaten and inflicted.
we have dead cops writing tickets, and cars getting tickets when they were out of state.
We spend more money on a state dinners than we do on supporting victims of domestic Violence
and worse of all, we have the Orioles.

and a crime rate that makes most foreign wars look like kids play.

This is Baltimore
and I am not surprised.

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