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City, Brekford differ on speed camera restart date

Baltimore's speed and red-light camera contractor says it expects the city's dormant network of automated cameras to be "fully activated" by the end of September.

But city officials say no restart date has been set, and have made clear that determination rests with them — not the contractor, Brekford Corp. of Anne Arundel County.

"It's the city's decision as to when we feel we are ready," said Adrienne Barnes, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation. "That's after we have carefully reviewed everything, making sure we are positive we are ready to go."

Brekford has "no authority to speak for when the cameras go back on," she added.

Brekford made its prediction earlier this month when it announced a net loss for the second quarter. In a statement, the company said "we expect the Baltimore [automated-camera] program to be fully activated during the current quarter," which ends Sept. 30.

On Friday, Brekford CEO C.B. Brechin put that comment in context. In an email to The Baltimore Sun, he said it is "not proper nor acceptable for service providers to make statements on behalf of the programs that they support."

"Comments stated in Brekford's financial statements are intended for our shareholders use only, and merely reflect our opinions and anticipations," he wrote. "These comments are in no way representative of the operations or intentions of the City of Baltimore or any of its employees."

Brekford became the city's vendor in January, taking over from another company. The city had hoped to move past prior problems that included erroneous speed readings from several cameras. But in mid-April, the city stopped issuing any tickets indefinitely after revelations that one of Brekford's speed cameras was programmed with the wrong speed limit.

More recently, police departments in Greenbelt and Hagerstown have voided or issued refunds for hundreds of speed camera tickets because some radar units didn't have an annual calibration, as required by state law.

Brekford is the contractor in both cities and has agreed to pick up the tab for lost revenue, according to police department news releases.

Barnes said Brekford's issues elsewhere in Maryland "obviously spark some concern on our end — it is the same vendor."

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