City of Harlem to refund speeding fines

The city of Harlem will offer full refunds on speeding tickets issued during a 10-month period this year after learning that Harlem police officers wrote tickets using non-certified 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.

As a result, the city’s license to use radar equipment has been suspended indefinitely by the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

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

“The city certainly acknowledges and apologizes for this serious issue,” Harlem Mayor Bobby 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 by law to submit an annual radar calibration report to the Georgia Department of Public Safety to retain its license. 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 in used until the city is issued a new license.

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

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