Speed camera vendor says losing city contract allows it to 'refocus'

Speed camera vendor Brekford Corp. on Friday made its first public statement since losing its exclusive deal to run Baltimore's massive and once-lucrative camera network -- casting the development as a positive step for the firm. 

The Anne Arundel Co.-based company, which last week agreed to a $600,000 settlement to sever its 5-year contract with the city, said parting ways with Baltimore allows it to "refocus" on its "core business segments."

City officials have declined to explain in detail why they cut ties with Brekford citing a non-disparagement clause in the contract termination agreement approved by the Board of Estimates.

But test findings by California-based URS Corp., a consultant hired to provide outside monitoring of the camera program, show that Brekford's program suffered from a number of flaws, including some cameras with defective radar, hundreds of tickets with incorrect citation numbers and preventable error rates that some weeks were as high as 30 percent. 

The test results were obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a Maryland Public Information Act request. They show that problems with the city's latest batch of cameras persisted for months this year, while the cameras have largely been offline. 

In a news release, Brekford depicted the experience with Baltimore as positive, saying it was "proud of its efforts and accomplishments in working with the city to analyze and remedy certain elements of the speed and red light camera program that needed attention from the City's previous contractor."

Xerox State & Local Solutions, of Dallas, previously ran the city's speed and red light cameras, but lost the contract at the end of 2012 amid questions about the accuracy of some of its radar cameras. Its speed cameras had generated more than $50 million for city government. 

"Despite significant Company resource allocation and expenditures, it was evident that we could not reach agreement on a clear 'go live' date for the program," Brekford president Rod Hillman said in a statement. "Brekford supports the City's decision ... and we will assist with the transition in keeping with the terms of our agreement with the City. Our working relationship with the City remains solid, as evidenced by our recent receipt of a contract for IT and vehicle up-fitting services from the Baltimore City Department of Public Works."

That contract is valued at $50,000. 

In the statement, Brekford said it will be keeping 10 portable speed cameras and the 82 speed camera modems installed in city cameras. City officials purchased 72 fixed cameras from Brekford for $2.2 million. The city has acknowledged it might not be able to use those cameras to catch speeders, but could perhaps use them for some other purpose. 

"We can now refocus management's attention and our corporate resources upon the expansion of our core business segments, which include automated traffic enforcement, parking citation issuance and collection services, and vehicle up-fitting services," C.B. Brechin, Brekford's CEO, said in the statement. 






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