Committee investigating city speed cameras receives 10,000 pages of documents

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration has turned over more than 10,000 pages of documents to a City Council committee conducting a wide-ranging investigation into Baltimore's speed camera program.

Councilman James B. Kraft, chairman of the committee, said he's received 10,000 to 12,000 pages of documents. He believes the mayor may turn over far more, he said.

In February, Kraft delivered a letter to Rawlings-Blake seeking 31 batches of documents involving nearly all aspects of the once-lucrative cameras, which have been offline since last spring. His letter sought documents pertaining to former speed camera contractors Xerox State & Local Solution and Brekford Corp., as well as consultants URS Corp. and Century Engineering. Among the 31 categories of documents sought are "all investigative reports" into the cameras' accuracy rates.

Mayoral spokesman Kevin Harris said the process of complying with Kraft's request could be complete "in the next several days." He has said the mayor's office is eager to provide the documents because the administration wants the public to know "all the facts in their proper context."

The council has authorized an investigation into circumstances behind a secret speed camera audit, which was commissioned by the administration and completed last April but never released. The study, a copy of which was obtained by The Baltimore Sun, found error rates in city speed cameras much higher than city officials have acknowledged.

Kraft said he had not had a chance yet to review the thousands of pages the mayor's office has provided. Until he does so, he said he couldn't determine which documents would be made available to the public for review and which would be kept private.

Kraft said the council would likely need to hire additional staff to go through the documents.

Baltimore Inspector General Robert H. Pearre Jr. has also launched what he called a "comprehensive investigation" into the city's troubled speed camera program.

Kraft said he plans to work with Pearre as much as possible.

"The inspector general is conducting an independent investigation and we are conducting an independent investigation," he said.


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