In October, new problems arose. The city and URS noticed that some speed camera test tickets indicated that vehicles were accelerating, even though the brake lights were clearly visible in photographs that accompanied citations. Documents included in the public records request offered no explanation for this.
Police continued to have trouble accessing citations in Brekford's system "from time to time."
URS did note signs of progress in October. "Brekford has been making an effort to communicate better," the consultants wrote, "but some improvements with communication are still needed."
During the second half of October, the controllable error rate dropped to 4 percent, within the city's allowable range for speed camera tickets. Meanwhile, police reported fewer problems setting up and shutting down cameras.
But significant issues remained. Among the concerns listed by the consultant on whether the camera system was running "error free" were these entries:
• "Brekford has identified a couple of defective radars in October and swapped them out."
• "Hundreds of Red Light citations have different citation #'s in [Brekford's system] than what is shown on the printed citations."
• Many red-light tickets had a "mail by" date that was 12 days later than allowed under law.
Last week the Board of Estimates voted 4-1 to approve the breakup deal, with only Comptroller Joan Pratt dissenting. She argued that the city could declare the company in "default" of its contract, and therefore make no additional payments.
State Sen. Verna L. Jones-Rodwell, chair of Baltimore's Senate delegation, believes the city made a mistake by entering into a "long-term contract" with the company until it proved it could handle such a large system.
She recommended the city hold a trial competition among bidders for a 2014 speed camera contract.
"We should know what they're capable of," she said. "There should be a thorough vetting."
After voting to cut ties with Brekford on Wednesday, Rawlings-Blake pledged to move forward with a new — but smaller — speed camera system.
"You don't cut your nose off to spite your face," she said to suggestions that the city get rid of cameras. "We had an experience that didn't work for Baltimore. My goal is to get a system that works, not to scrap it."
Documents obtained by The Baltimore Sun outline problems found in testing Baltimore's speed and red-light camera system. The city recently cut ties with contractor Brekford Corp., while agreeing to pay $600,000 in a settlement. Among the highlighted problems:
•Difficulty in turning cameras on and off
•Citation numbers in system that did not match those on printed citations