Calgary police caught in photo radar traps but don't pay tickets
Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 9:09PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 24, 2015 10:00PM EDT
Police officers in Calgary are getting caught speeding and running red lights by their own photo radar traps.
What’s not slowing them down is the fact that less than one per cent of those caught on film breaking traffic laws have ever had to pay a ticket.
Over a two-year period between July 2012 and July 2014, Calgary police officers were caught breaking the law 861 times without their emergency lights flashing, an access to information request revealed.
Only 24 of those instances resulted in a ticket. Only six of those tickets were ever paid.
A spokesperson for Calgary Police Service said it’s often justifiable for officers to drive faster than the speed limit as part of their job.
“There will be occasions when officers have to speed, to go beyond the speed limit in the execution of their duties,” said Kevin Brookwell.
And while the law allows officers to speed without their emergency lights on, they’re only allowed to do so when it’s “reasonable and safe” – something University of Calgary law professor Chris Levy said likely isn’t always the case.
“I think officer safety sometimes is being used as a cloak for other things,” Levy said.
Although officers were only asked to justify their traffic violations 36 per cent of the time, Brookwell said self-regulation within the service was adequate.
“I would suggest that probably our internal process is more robust and has more implications than anything the public would ever get,” he said.
Levy disagreed -- he said the lack of prosecution comes as a result of the force policing itself.
“It’s true that there's a police commission, but it’s a pretty toothless tiger,” he said. “And I think we're becoming, as a society, increasingly concerned about this very incestuous self-investigation.”