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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Atlanta, GA

    Default Red-light fines to go to police, firefighters

    Saw this article in the Dallas Morning News for April 12, 2007.

    Below are some juicy excerpts,

    Starting Sunday, any Dallas police officer in a marked squad car who is captured on the city's cameras running a red light will have to pay the $75 fine if the incident doesn't comply with state law.

    Firefighters who run red lights will have to pay if they're not on an emergency run.

    Many police officers are angry about the proposed policy. The prevailing belief among officers has been that they can run red lights as they see fit.

    Since last year, 39 cameras have been placed at intersections, city officials said. Sixty cameras are scheduled to be up and running by May 22.

    Since mid-January, the cameras have recorded at least 355 emergency vehicles running red lights. Not all of those vehicles belonged to the city of Dallas. Notice is sent to the departments so they can determine whether the driver of the emergency vehicle had a legal reason to run the light.

    So far, the Dallas Police Department has received notice of 103 marked vehicles and six unmarked vehicles running red lights, said Lt. Sally Lannom, who helped draft the new policy.

  2. #2



  3. #3
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    Nov 2006


    They should just get a MIRT.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006



    Before I respond, let me state up front that I have been a professional Firefighter/Paramedic in the Phoenix, Arizona area (an area that currently has the most automated traffic enforcement cameras in the USA) for the last twenty-two years. I am also a Representative for NavAlert and am in the process of personally visiting every traffic camera location in a 1400 square mile area to improve the accuracy of the product. Overall, I am an active opponent of all automated traffic enforcement as a USA taxpayer and a firefighter.

    Now, I am not surprised that there were 355 emergency vehicles running red lights in the Dallas, Texas area study. Welcome to the real world. There are many instances where a fast response is needed to an emergency scene by Police and/or Fire Departments, but a low profile without lights and/or siren are best. Some few examples are to avoid disturbing a neighborhood at 3AM, announcing yourself to suspected criminals or mental patients, and provide backup to another unit that had not requested it yet. With this comes the breaking of speed limits, illegal turns, running red lights, and more. Regardless, it is always the responsibility of the operator to "drive with the safety of the public in mind". In my career, I have never seen this basic principle jeopardized, but I have seen gross violations of "driving with the feelings of the public in mind". Charging Public Safety personnel for trying to do their jobs is an insult and a waste of taxpayer money.

    Here is what will most likely happen in Dallas, if it already hasn't. The various Public Safety Departments of the Dallas area will rewrite their own operating procedures to include various definitions of what an "emergency response" is, thereby officially recognizing a practice that has happened for years. They will also use radio codes or other technology to indicate when a "silent" response is used, thereby providing even more of record keeping nightmare for every move. The individual vehicle operators will become quite familiar with where all the traffic cameras are in their areas and avoid future detection. Those incidents that are detected will be investigated at the burden of taxpayer money; with a very large majority of all cases to be dismissed in the end. Those that do get charged will most likely not change their habits, but will find ways to never get caught again. This is exactly what has happened within the city that I work for.

    Should a Police Officer be able to run a red light just to get to Duncan Donuts? Absolutely not. Should firefighters be able to break the speed limit just to get back to the Fire Station and catch a football game? Absolutely not. But these kind of instances are rare and by no means require the time and expense of a blanket policy in a job already overburdened by bureaucracy. I strongly feel that this all starts with the corporate greed of companies like Redflex Traffic Systems and is further promoted by the politicians that are at the whim of public opinion, when what could have easily diffused the whole issue would have been public education about these practices.

    With all due respect, the opinions expressed here are typical of taxpayers who have not thought carefully about the issues. I might even agree if I were not a firefighter. Regardless, I highly suggest that everyone look into some kind of observer or ride-along program with your local Police or Fire Department. Only after you have experienced what we go through on a daily basis can you then make judgement.

    “Technological change is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” (Albert Einstein, 1941),
    Dr. Z.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Morristown, Arizona, United States


    Thanks for your input Zeigh, I completely agree being a retired LEO. Unless it was a very serious call, I would never run hot (code 3) when responding to a call or backing up an officer.

    Soon as those lights came on, people did crazy stuff and it was harder dodging them with lights on, then off
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  6. #6
    Speed Demon
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    woo hoo! finally! :P

  7. #7
    Good Citizen
    Join Date
    May 2005


    Thanks to both of you and I completely agree. However, some of the self righteous believe that if they can't do it then no one should be able to do it. Most of the time I can get thru traffic faster and safer if I do so without notifying the public of my presence and watching some of them go crazy. Maybe thats why the code says to use lights and siren as may be reasonably necessary.

  8. #8


    Does seem like the law doesn't apply to everybody at times. In my neighborhood, see cars get pulled over left right & center for rolling thru stop signs. But in my observations I don't think I've ever seen a police car come to a dead stop at a sign, nor use directionals a lot of the time. If the law is not obeyed by everybody and enforced even handedly, is it really a law?



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