The department, which is limited by law to using a maximum of eight speed camera systems at one time, is not actively exploring more vans, McMahon said.

However, McMahon is not ruling out the possibility.

"In the future, if that's something we see as necessary, we have that capability," McMahon said.

Staying within the law

While speed camera programs in Baltimore city and Baltimore County have been scrutinized because of an improper "pay per citation" relationship between vendors and police departments, those issues are not present in Howard, according to McMahon.

"I can personally assure you the problems faced in other programs do not exist in Howard County, as our program uses different technology and processing methods," McMahon wrote in the report.

According to law, the pay per citation model is illegal if the contractor operates the speed monitoring program on behalf of the local jurisdiction.

While Howard County does pay per citation, Xerox State & Local Solutions — Howard's contractor and the previous contractor for Baltimore city — has a "very limited role" in how the department operates its program.

"We are very confident we are compliance with the law," McMahon said.

The report states that Xerox has "no way" to control the profits or income, and that "in every sense, Howard County Police Department operates the program."

According to the report, Xerox is paid a flat fee for rental of equipment plus a fee per $40 citation. The vendor receives $9.65 per citation for the first 5,000 citations processed each calendar year, $8.88 for the second 5,000 processed and so on.The lowest Xerox will receive per citation is $5.95. At the start of a new calendar year, the rate resets back to $9.65 per citation.

In addition, McMahon said the department does not face the same issues as Baltimore city when it comes to the issuance of incorrect citations.

According to the report, many of the city's issues, including one incident where a ticket was issued to a stopped car, were caused by "radar effects" such as reflection, refraction and absorption.

Since Howard uses laser technology, those issues do not arise, according to the report.

The report also addresses the controversy surrounding the camera's time stamped photographs. Howard's speed camera program has been criticized in the Baltimore Sun's speed camera coverage for not placing fractions of a second on the pair of time stamped photos issued to violators.

Those fractions of a second, while not required by the law, aid in verifying the speed at which the vehicle was traveling, according to the Sun.

The report states that the laser technology does not allow for fractions of a second to be displayed, and that the department's current time stamps are compliant with the law.

The department also argues that using the time stamped photos to calculate the speed of a vehicle, which has been used extensively in the Sun's coverage, is an inaccurate process in Howard.

According to the report, the angle of the camera and other factors make it impossible for motorists to conduct their own accurate calculations.

However, the department is working with Xerox on the feasibility of changing the laser software in "to ensure legislators and the public that their confidence in our program is a top priority."