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Have you ever been caught by one of those pesky red light or speed enforcement cameras? Did you have your siren and lights on at the time? If not, you may include yourself in the company of at least some of the 26 Cedar Rapids, Iowa, police officers who have been busted by red light and speed cameras. It seems that the cops have been photographed running red lights and speeding in America's heartland, and not always with good reason.
According to the GazetteOnline, the 26 officers snapped breaking the traffic laws as of last week are all under the eye of Cedar Rapids Police Chief, Greg Graham. Reportedly, five of the potential violations were deemed not to be actual violations; that is, officers were operating in "legitimate" fashion, such as tailing a speeder at the speeder's speed. In six other instances, the officers were issued letters of discipline because they did not have their lights or sirens on when they should have. Others are still under review.
Police Chief Graham unequivocally states that police officers in his city do not get a free ride if they break traffic laws without official reason. "Every one of the officers has been told that by me," the chief told the Gazette.
But that's not all.
In nearby Marion, Police Chief Harry Daugherty says the Cedar Rapids Police Department has forwarded seven possible camera violations by his own officers to him for review. The reasoning in Marion goes that Marion officers are in Cedar Rapids delivering arrested suspects to the Linn County Jail, in beautiful downtown Cedar Rapids. Often, the officers need to hurry back to Marion for calls. In the three instances in which officers are getting tickets, "nothing big was going on," according to Chief Daugherty. The two chiefs have agreed to handle discipline in the same way, so as to avoid favoritism.
According to Chief Daugherty, "If my people have a reason to be speeding, I will excuse them. On the other hand, if they don't have a reason, I won't. [Otherwise], I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I didn't."
But that's not all.
The Gazette reports Chief Graham also has seven tickets issued to other Cedar Rapids city vehicles as of last week. One was set aside, the others are under review. At least one of those tickets was given to a garbage truck.
Drive Safe, Cedar Rapids.