A former police officer in McKinney, Texas, claims some drivers got speeding tickets because of faulty 40-year-old equipment.
Ex-officer Aaron Smith believes that some of the 4,000 annual speeding tickets in the small town are because of inaccurate speed radar readings (video below).
Smith, a nine-year veteran of the McKinney Police Department, installed the speed radars in the police cars himself.
“I noticed as I was driving one of the Crown Vic’s back, I started to see oncoming traffic coming at 120 miles an hour,” Smith told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
Smith claims that some of the police cars were missing a vehicle speed sensor cable that prevents moving cruisers from incorrectly reading the speed of drivers. The result would make a driver going 45 mph appear to speed at 65 mph.
Smith produced an email that he sent to his supervisors back in September of 2013.
“I didn’t think it was it was right ethically to be writing tickets to somebody that may or may not deserve them,” added Smith. “I can tell you that citizens got tickets they didn’t deserve.”
“There is a great possibility that you could get an erroneous reading, which could lead to you writing a ticket to someone that may not have deserved it,” Smith told WFAA.
The McKinney Police Department claims the radar guns don’t need the vehicle speed sensor cable and officers are trained to compensate for the lack of the equipment.
“If that visual observation does not match what that radar is saying, then we stop there,” McKinney Police Assistant Chief Joe Ellenburg told WFAA.
“I started noticing these anomalies where target speeds would be completely out of the norm,” said Smith. “I was told, ‘Let’s not make any noise about this, we’ll get it fixed at some point.’”
Assistant Chief Ellenburg countered, "He brought that to the attention of his supervisor, and his supervisor said, 'Let’s go forth and fix it.'"
However, the police cars were never fixed. Smith resigned from the McKinney Police Department in December 2013 because of the problematic speed radars.
“I’ve spent 22 years in this career I would never allow faulty equipment in the field,” Assistant Chief Ellenburg told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
He later contradicted himself by adding that the department will now spend $3,000 buying the cables for about 20 police cars.