Austin Traffic Cameras Catch Dozens of Police Officers Running Red Lights

180px-RedlightcameraAustin has joined various cities in installing cameras to catch speeders. They nailed 36 violators who just happen to be police officers running lights. The officers were not responding to a call. None of them were ticketed.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo responded with a powerful statement: “It is a concern. We talk about it to our folks.” Wow, it is a “concern.”

How much of a concern would it be when these police cruisers crash into a passenger car.
The Chief also rejected the notion of officers paying tickets for running lights: “What we do and what our policy is if that occurs is that we use progressive discipline to correct the behavior in either training or correct the behavior and so far, we haven’t had anybody do it twice. From my perspective, you’ve got to have your lights on, its required by the code.” Perhaps, citizens should be given the same warning notice before citations are issued.

For the full story, click here.

28 thoughts on “Austin Traffic Cameras Catch Dozens of Police Officers Running Red Lights”

  1. It does not surprise me that no accidents resulted from these violations. Most of the red light violations caught by these cameras involve drivers trying to squeak through at the end of a yellow light. Other drivers simply hold back until the intersection clears. The red light violations that cause accidents, with drivers booming through established red lights, are rare, yet these accidents are given “poster child” treatment to justify the cameras.

  2. Paul A’Barge,
    It would be so good of you not to jump to pre-conclusions about the political leanings of people posting here without evidence that you know something about the variety of opinions expressed at this site.

    If you think a “socialist rot” is affecting this nation, then
    I think you should educate yourself as to what exactly socialism is, not what people like Rush tell you. The US is among the least “socialist” nations in the industrial world and always has been. Your problem is you have little understanding of what socialism means and therefore speak from ignorance.

    As for your talking about what the “Founders” stood for let me just remind you that Texas joined a treasonous rebellion against this Union and your current governor has threatened secession, even though Texas gets more money back from the federal government than it gives in. One might fairly call it the Lone Star State of Pious Hypocrites.

    You all have produced some really great singers though, that Austin and San Antonio seems to be your most redeeming features.

  3. When visiting Houston, I was traveling on I-10 and a Houston police car went past me going at least double the speed limit of 55, and had no lights or siren on. Police flagrantly violate the traffic laws because they know that they won’t ( in most cases ) get punished.

  4. This is AUSTIN Texas. The most liberal city in Texas. What else would you expect? The only thing that surprizes me is that they let the information out.

  5. Paul…
    Not everyone on here is Liberal. And by the look of your blog, you’re not a very bright young man. So I guess that is why you would immediately jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts first

  6. This is good news!

    I agree that it is morally problematic that police should get a pass from traffic laws, when they are just driving around (no emergency, not following a speeding car, etc.).

    But look at the bright side:

    1) This story isn’t news telling us that Austin (or Texas) Police specifically are corrupt on this score. We all know that policemen everywhere have never gotten speeding tickets in their police cars. Further, we know that it is exceedingly rare for a policeman driving a private car to get a ticket, within his jurisdiction at least (and probably the whole state in most cases), and that even being a cop from across the country is an enormous advantage in talking oneself out of a speeding ticket in all but the most egregious cases of poor driving.

    2) And this story isn’t telling us that Speeding Cameras are bad. We already believed that. What this story does tell us is that we finally have a way of halting the onslaught of Speeding Cameras!

    Speeding Cameras, because they have no subjective biases, are picking up the police speeders, requiring specific and readily (and almost necessarily) documented decisions not to write a ticket to a policeman (or, let’s face it, a politician, judge, or prosecuting attorney). In contrast, when actual policemen are patrolling, they always have discretion to do nothing based on what they claim to have seen.

    If we insist that Speeding Camera tickets must be levied on policemen (perhaps even if just when they are off-duty) we are likely to win that aim based on either political pressure from fairness arguments, or when judges start to throw out other peoples’ Speeding Camera-generated tickets based on selective prosecution.

    We have to insist on some oversight mechanism, so that police cannot unilaterally decide who gets, or doesn’t get, a ticket once an offense has been photographed. Once policemen start getting speeding tickets, the pressure, from police and politicians, to install Speeding Cameras will disappear.

  7. How do you hysterical Libertariantards go from a few police in Austin, who are probably going through a red light with great care to bashing all law enforcement everywhere, not just in Texas?

  8. Another case of your overlords not having the same rules as you.

    Shut up, you serfs, or we’ll start looking for cash on all our traffic stops. Kids? They’ll have to go to state care while you try to get out of this.

    And this in Texas? Why haven’t you shot the chief of police yet? Oh yeah, I forgot – Austin isn’t really Texas, now is it.

  9. “Just one more example why Texas is the worst place in the Union.”

    If Texas were the worst place in the Union, there would be net emigration of people and businesses vs. states like California. Texas certainly has its share of ugly topography and at least one corrupt police chief who’s forgotten his oath to Protect & Serve, but Texas is pretty clear on the Founders’ intent with regard to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and has largely escaped the socialist rot infecting much of the rest of the nation. You can come here, work hard and keep most of the money you earn. The people dragging our country down are the ones asking for bailout money.

  10. I think puzzling has a good question. What about officers when they are driving their own vehicles? Do they get ticketed, or is there a Get Out Of Jail Free card for that, as well?

    I think officers should be paid well, but when they break a rule, I agree with Angela that they should pay double the fine. They have a particular duty to follow the law.

  11. Just one more example why Texas is the worst place in the Union. Maybe Gov. Perry was correct in suggesting that Texas should secede.

  12. If a citizen’s vehicle was struck by an offending officer, you can be sure that:

    1. the red light camera would have malfunctioned
    2. the citizen would be at fault
    3. the officer involved would get an early retirement on disability

    Are other municipal vehicles also exempted?

    What about the personal vehicles of officers?

  13. Do you think that they are running for Congress? Getting all the perks that they can get?

  14. The cops should pay double fines for running those lights. Betraying the public trust should be painful and expensive.

  15. @anonymously yours,

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m from Arkansas and travel in Texas often, and the officers there do seem to hold themselves above the law. I’ve been reading a lot about the debate surrounding these cameras: and the argument for police abuse of these camera’s is an interesting perspective. I feel like these are revenue generators first and public safety tools second, and if police aren’t taking them seriously, how are the driving public?

  16. This has been endemic to law enforcement every, for all of history. Law enforcement began as a means for those in power to protect themselves from everyone else. While conceptually, through time, its functions changed it remained primarily as a agent of repression. English common Law, the French Revolution and our own Revolution, redefined the mission, but it still retained these repressive overtones. With the firm establishment of habeas corpus the purposes of the LEO’s began to include more than just safeguarding wealth and the wealthy.
    Conceptually in the US we began to expect more from our LEO’s and require of them a sense of mission to equally enforce the laws.

    However, when we realize that Wyatt Earp owned the majority of brothels in Dodge City and Wichita, that southern LEO’s were used to enforce discrimination, and that LA hired police officers from the South to particularly put down the Mexican population, we see that there is a strong tradition of police entitlement and unequal law enforcement.

    Those like FFLEO, who took their oath of office seriously no doubt faced many obstacles towards acting evenhandedly and as he said many of the best LEO’s have been forced into other careers. While obviously I believe that this is an old problem, I think many of the current problems today stem from a “militarization” of police work brought about by Nixon’s War on Crime and then the War on Drugs. By calling normal police work “War” it somehow invites the excess of a military perspective to poison the processes.

  17. Hey at least the police chief is concerned!!!

    I’m going to use that next time I get pulled over for running a red light

    Somehow though, telling an officer,
    “Well I was concerned more about getting to the store 2 minutes sooner than I am about obeying traffic laws…what’s the problem with that?”
    probably won’t get me a simple warning…I’ll get a nice ticket with a hefty fine.

  18. This does not surprise me in the least. Cops are above the law in Texas at least. They say it it is so. Unless they are on a pursuit they should abide by the same laws as the rest of the citizens. Thats my two cents worth.

  19. Somalia was a functional govt. not that long ago. It’s a real mistake to allow the breakdown of the rule of law. We seem to think it’s O.K. to ignore this breakdown in the US, as if what happened in other countries, won’t happen here. Ignoring lawbreaking by the powerful and those who are charged with enforceing the law leads to social chaos. The US won’t have a different result for acting in a lawless manner.

    Right now we ignore the financial and war crimes taking place within the highest level of our govt. In the meantime we are engaged in 3 wars where we are killing a great many civilians. There has been a recent accusation that we have used white phosphorus on civilians in Afghanistan. Three wars and the many bizarre bailouts going to rich criminals, including 9 trillion in off the books transactions by the Fed., while ignoring the war criminals in our midst. None of this is sustainable.

    Terry Gross interviewed an expert on the drug trade in Afghanistan yesterday. She says we should not put our money into combat, we should put it into restoring the rule of law and civil society. It’s what we should be doing within the US as well.

  20. This is just one more example of the myriad examples available of rampant double standard law enforcement.

    However, even ethical, well respected and commended LEOs within the system who try to fight such law breaking are powerless to combat that corrupt ‘system’ and they are the ones most often looking for a new career to pay for their mortgages, kids’ college costs, health insurance…

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