Canada: Edmonton Photo Radar Trial Underway

canada edmonton photo radar trial underway

A senior Edmonton Canada police officer was back in court yesterday, as trial court proceedings began to determine whether his authorship of a fraudulent memo on behalf of a photo radar firm constituted a crime. Detective Thomas Bell, 50, is one of several Edmonton Police Service officers who accepted lavish gifts and other benefits between 1998 and 2004 from Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). That’s the same company that received a police recommendation for a no-bid contract worth $90m to run the city’s speed cameras. Bell’s downfall came when he put his name to a memorandum designed to single-out ACS as the only firm capable of operating the lucrative speed camera program. As reported by the Edmonton Journal, an anonymous March 2004 email from within the department kicked-off the investigation into Bell. According to reports, over the last year– while Sgt. Bell was in charge of the speed enforcement unit– ACS sent the officer on several junkets, and blessed Bell with free lunches, dinners, golf tournaments and banquets. (Former Deputy Police Chief Darryl da Costa narrowly escaped internal punishment for violating ethics rules for taking free hockey tickets and meals. The statute of limitations had expired by the time the allegations surfaced.) If convicted of breach of trust, Bell would face a maximum sentence of fourteen years in prison. [click here for the full story from TheNewspaper.com]

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  • Brettc Brettc on Oct 07, 2008

    But everyone in Alberta is rich from the oil sands, right? I've thought about moving to Alberta, but it's nothing I'm too interested in after what I've read. Plus I don't like the extreme cold, Southern Maine is cold enough for me.

  • Dave Dave on Oct 07, 2008

    A few are very rich from oil - the rest of us just got a hefty boost in our cost of living. The cold isn't so bad in the southern half of the province. Chinooks are a great thing.

  • John B John B on Oct 07, 2008

    psarhjinian: repeat after me - photo radar is all about money!! The following letter appeared in the Toronto Star July, 3, 2007 (I copied and saved it - it was that good). I've printed it out in full below: "When photo radar was introduced by the Ontario government in 1994, the radar vans were only placed on highways exclusively within my area of command as a chief superintendent with the Ontario Provincial Police. However, I had no authority to direct how they would actually be utilized." "Brochures distributed by the OPP and the government suggested photo radar would only be used in high-collision areas. In fact, it was placed in areas with no collision experience. We all know these "fishing holes," and this led me to lodge two internal complaints about the cash grab. Nothing changed." "Yes, excessive speed contributes to the severity of collisions. Yet most often there are other factors involved, such as dangerous, aggressive driving, racing, following too closely, and cutting in and out of traffic. As police officers, we do the public a disservice by intensifying our dependency on radar and speeding offences, rather than trying to find other aggressive drivers. But radar is easy to do and makes it easy to secure a conviction." "The dilemma government faces is simple: Once it approves the use of photo radar, it has no say in how the police will use it, and every police service needs money. The Rae government failed to realize this, and many motorists were dissatisfied with how it was being used." "There can be a role for photo radar, provided the police are carefully regulated in how it is used. I prefer to live in an Ontario where police practise the spirit of the law rather than simply the letter of the law. There are times when motorists travelling at 112 km/h on Highway 401 are doing the right thing. Photo radar may not see it that way." Bill Closs, Chief of Police, Kingston, Ont.

  • JuniorMint JuniorMint on Oct 07, 2008
    14 years for greasing the wheels for your favorite company? LORD-y! That seems a bit harsh, especially since that's business as usual here in the Windy City.

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