A Maryland town bordering Northeast Washington is giving refunds to hundreds of drivers who were erroneously issued speeding tickets over the course of two weeks, The Washington Examiner has learned.
Brentwood Mayor Xzavier Montgomery-Wright attributed the refund to an "internal error," which she refused to explain.
"I want to end this [phone] call and not respond," she said, declining to identify the town's camera contractor. "The people calling the press and telling them about this are just trying to shut down the [camera] program."
Brentwood is directing drivers ticketed between June 24 and July 13 to e-mail the town's police department for a refund. The town owns and operates two speed cameras at the intersection of 38th and Rhode Island avenues, just outside Northeast D.C. in Prince George's County.
Brentwood Police Chief David Risik, who operates the speed camera program, said he doesn't know why the town is offering a citation amnesty program.
"I'm not sure exactly what it was other than sometimes we get tickets that are unreadable and you have to be able to read the ticket," he said.
Risik pinned the blame on an unidentified "third party vendor" that he said issues tickets on behalf of Brentwood's camera vendor, Maryland-based Optotraffic.
Optotraffic pointed the finger at Risik and the town of Brentwood.
"They had a police officer who was on municipal leave signing violations for two weeks, and they got caught by that," said J. Marcos Sirota, president and CEO of Optotraffic's parent company, aerospace engineering company Sigma Space Corp.
Maryland law prohibits inactive officers from signing off on violations.
"It had nothing to do with the technology of the cameras," Sirota said. "It was a procedural error on their part."
Risik confirmed "there was someone who was on leave" but said all the violations were signed legally.
Brentwood has issued nearly $100,000 in citations since its camera program began six months ago.