Murphy, too, said he didn't consider it important to determine the speed camera network's error rate in Baltimore. A new vendor, Hanover-based Brekford Corp., will take over the cameras in January.

"I'm not really concerned what the error rate is; we just want to reduce it," he said. "Knowing whether or not anything is going wrong at any location — that's important."

At the task force meeting Friday, city officials handed out new statistics showing a sharp drop in speed camera tickets since July. Last June, the city issued its highest number of tickets since the program began: 86,000. Since July, the number of tickets has dropped sharply from about 25,000 tickets from fixed-pole cameras issued over a two-week span to about 8,300 during a two-week span this month. The city's eight portable cameras also issued fewer tickets, dropping from 18,000 during two weeks in July to a recent low of just more than 2,500 over two weeks this month, the data showed.

"This was, by and large, set up to be a good system," Averella said after the meeting. "That being said, when you know there are errors in place and nothing is being done to shut those cameras down, it really chips away at the integrity of the program. I don't think that's good for the system overall." She said she believed it "important" to know the city's error rate, and deemed the erroneous ticketing "troubling."

As the task force considered the errors, city schools police chief Toby Goodwin asked what the city can do to ensure that motorists are being accurately cited for violations.

Murphy said the answer would be "more clear" after the panel's next meeting, when Xerox is expected to discuss what it has learned about the cameras.

"What we need to hear is the results of the investigation [by Xerox] that's ongoing now about how do we catch them, how do we fix it, how do we make sure it doesn't happen," Murphy said.

The task force next meets Dec. 14.

luke.broadwater@baltsun.com

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