Howard Co. police say Xerox has fixed speed camera data errors

Howard County police say their speed camera vendor has corrected a year's worth of inaccurate data the company submitted about the cameras there. 

In a letter submitted to the County Council this week, Chief Gary Gardner reported that Xerox State & Local Solutions had resolved its data issues to the police department's satisfaction.

"Xerox has resubmitted the report to the police department after manually checking the data points and it now includes all of the original, complete information," Gardner wrote. He added that the company will conduct bi-weekly checks of its data in the future.

A Sun review of the updated 300 pages of documents confirmed the errors were fixed. 

Xerox was facing criticism in Howard County after The Sun reported data it submitted about the county's four cameras repeatedly listed more vehicles speeding than there were cars on the road. The 2013 data sometimes reported that 200 percent, 400 percent or even 600 percent of the number of cars that passed by a camera were speeding.

County officials say Xerox lost some files that tracked the total number of vehicles on a road. Officials say they do not believe that any erroneous citations were issued to motorists, in part because the citations are generated by a different computer program and undergo a review process.

"While this discrepancy never affected the valididty of citations or the integrity of the program, it is critical to the police department that the public have complete confidence in every facet of automated enforcement," Gardner wrote. 

Xerox has been Howard County's speed camera vendor since 2011 and receives about $22 for each $40 ticket given out in the county. Last fiscal year, the county collected $448,000 in speed camera fines, $255,000 of which was paid to Xerox. County officials say that after paying employees and funding the program, they collected about $15,000 in revenue from the tickets, adding that the point of the effort is traffic safety.

Howard officials note that in 2013, only 47 people contested their tickets in court, with just two winning.

Xerox operated Baltimore's speed camera program from the fall of 2009 through 2012, drawing criticism after an investigation in 2012 by The Sun documented erroneous speed readings at seven cameras. The investigation found that tickets were issued to motorists who were not speeding, including one stopped at a red light.

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