When a Port Lavaca resident sought a red light camera record from the local police department, he was given the brush: Go to the private vendor who provides the red light cameras, he was told. The resident requesting the information is Byron Schirmbeck, who runs an anti-camera website, and the scene goes like this, according to theNewspaper.com:
On September 12, Port Lavaca Police Sergeant Kelly Flood signed a ticket accusing motorist Dale Price of running a red light at the intersection of US 35 and Travis Street. Video evidence clearly shows Price's vehicle entered on a steady green light (view video). On September 23, Schirmbeck filed a public records request seeking all red light camera tickets issued around the date the camera generated Price's bogus citation. The city responded on October 6.
"The information you're requesting regarding number 1, you will have to contact red light camera," wrote Tiffany Butcher with the Port Lavaca Police Department's records division.
The story says Port Lavaca failed to ask the attorney general's office for permission to withhold the records, as required by law. The company, Redflex Traffic Systems, had refused to provide them.
And it's not like Redflex hasn't been there before. Earlier this year, the city of Grand Prairie unsuccessfully tried to withhold information on red-light camera violaTtions. In this case, Redflex was also the provider of the technology. The state Attorney General's office ruled the information was public despite being held by a private company because Redflex was acting on the city's behalf.
On the brighter side of transparency, the Port Lavaca PD has a very public way of informing the public of who has warrants: It posts them online.
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Photo of money by flickr user athrasher, used via a Creative Commons license.