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City of Harlem to refund speeding fines

Posted: December 25, 2013 - 1:05am

The city of Harlem will offer full refunds on speeding tickets issued during a 10-month period this year after learning that police officers wrote tickets based on noncertified radar equipment.

According to a statement from the city, Harlem Department of Public Safety Chief Gary Jones learned Thurs­day that the agency’s radar calibration certification with the Georgia De­partment of Public Safety had expired Feb. 7. Jones was working to set up the department’s annual radar calibration certification renewal.

About 85 speeding tickets were issued between Feb­ruary and November.

The city’s license to use radar equipment has been suspended indefinitely by the public safety agency.

Jones, Mayor Bobby Cul­pepper and City Manager Jason Rizner met Friday to review the issue, according to the statement.

“The city certainly ack-nowledges and apologizes for this serious issue,”
Cul­pepper said. “We are all committed to making this right, and I know Chief Jones is working hard to ensure that all affected individuals are refunded fine
amounts and that each driver’s history is cleared of the charges.”

According to the statement, police departments are required to submit an annual radar calibration report to the state Department of Pub­lic Safety. Units are
tested by an outside vendor, which then submits a certificate of accuracy to the state agency.

“Although this happened under a previous police administration, I accept responsibility,” Jones said. “I felt that the only ethical and honest response was to notify the public rather than allowing the matter to go forward undetected.”

As of Thursday, all of the department’s radar equipment has been calibrated, and officers will receive remedial training with the equipment.

The equipment will not be used until the city is issued a new license.

People who were issued a ticket during the 10 months will be contacted via certified letter after Christmas and offered a full refund, according to the statement.

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