Someone contacted me today and sent me a link to an article in the Herald from 2011 regarding Lynnwood’s use of red light camera footage for investigations totally unrelated to traffic offenses, an apparent violation of Washington State law that forbids the use of that footage for anything but violations related to running a red light or speeding.
My favorite quote from the article is from Police Chief Steve Jensen, he said “his cops are using the cameras for investigations in ways he thinks most people in Lynnwood would support.” Well I guess if the majority of people in Lynnwood think it’s okay, screw Washington State law.
Maybe Seattle Police should let the cowboys from Lynnwood PD come down and work those two shooting investigations for them.
Here’s a link to the original article on Heraldnet:
Lynnwood’s revenue generation system
Interesting article in the Seattle Times yesterday about the fact that Seattle Police are unable to access the red light camera video to help solve a couple recent killings. I was unaware that it is illegal to use video from red light cameras for anything other than traffic enforcement in Washington state.
From the article: “Across the nation footage from red-light traffic cameras have been used by police to solve crimes, but the footage is banned from police use in Washington state. The King County prosecutor wants the Legislature to reconsider the 2005 law.”
Apparently Lynnwood Police is also unaware of this law. On August 17th, 2011 there was a shooting in Lynnwood, on 196th street. During the response I monitored their radio traffic and they mentioned that they could “Pull the ATS (American Traffic Solutions) footage” to help ID the shooter. I even tweeted about it:
I guess Lynnwood figures the law doesn’t apply to them?
Here’s a link to the Seattle Times article: Seattle cops can’t check red-light cameras for clues to killings | Local News | The Seattle Times.
Two weeks ago we had a freak late April snow/hail mix one morning on my way to work. The roads had a light accumulation, just enough to be a problem if you were not paying attention. While driving up 84th Ave N.E. heading towards Marysville the speeds slowed with traffic. I noticed what was causing the backup; a motorcyclist was in the front driving at around 40MPH. I wondered what kind of person would wake up, see snow falling and sticking to the road and decide to ride a motorcycle to work
Once I made it to the intersection of 84th and Highway 9 it became more clear- it was a Lynnwood Police Department motorcycle unit- about 35 miles from his city limits. I thought this was interesting for two reasons. 1- Why is he riding in such crappy weather? 2- Why does the city allow him to ride the department’s bike home?
Assuming he does this every day he works it would amount to 70-80 miles per day. I’m willing to bet he has a hard time putting 80 miles on that bike when he is actively on traffic enforcement. (sitting shooting radar for hours, pulling people over 1/8th of a mile from the violation point, turning around and repeating the process dozens of times a day.) Seems ridiculous for the department to allow employees to take the bikes home with them to me. I can understand a K9 unit needing his vehicle to go to his residence, but a traffic motorcycle? And to potentially have the majority of the miles put on the bike in his commute? Lynnwood is pretty much broke right now with a $22 million budget shortfall, seems like they should be watching EFP (every friggin penny).
Recently the Herald has written a couple of excellent articles- “Lynnwood traffic cameras have brought in $4.7 million” and “Lynnwood not smiling about traffic camera coverage” on the red light camera revenue stream in Lynnwood. Lynnwood has responded that the red light cameras were put in as a result of people complaining about traffic congestion in Lynnwood. So the city decided to put up red camera lights to improve traffic? How about forward planning your traffic flow before you allow development of every square inch of the city to mall, commercial, strip mall, and condos??
Take a trip to Lynnwood on a Saturday morning and just try to drive around the mall, up and down 196th. Enjoy up to an hour in your car to get maybe 4 miles. The red light cameras have not improved the quality of driving in Lynnwood at all. Traffic gets worse every year, the city goes further in debt, taxes go up the city has become the butt of jokes in Snohomish County.
I try to avoid Lynnwood whenever possible due to the horrible traffic, high taxes, vehicle prowls at the mall, the red light cameras and the arrogant irresponsible attitude the city continues to display. I would encourage others to do the same.