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Police in major U.S. city now held accountable for their red-light violations

It often seems like everyone has their own story of watching a police officer blow through a stop light even though there is no apparent emergency. In fact, this traffic violation often goes unpunished, with officers able to dismiss tickets issued by red light cameras that catch them red-handed.

But at least one major American city is seeking to put an end to this practice. City police officers in Denver will now be forced to follow the same traffic laws as ordinary citizens, even when it comes to running a red light. Specifically, police officers will be forced to either challenge the traffic violation or pay the fine.

The new rule replaces a prior policy that essentially exempted officers from paying traffic violations. Here, they would receive an oral reprimand after the third offense, followed by a written reprimand on the fourth offense.

It should be noted, however, that officers determined to be responding to actual emergencies at the time of the violation will still be exempt from traffic tickets.

The policy applies to all on-duty employees of the city and resulted after complaints from other citizens that police were given unfair treatment. In fact, a Denver TV station recently reported that 607 tickets issued to on-duty city employees were unpaid between 2009 and mid-2012. The majority of those tickets -- 458 -- were issued to police vehicles.

In addition to the new policies, Denver police could be docked eight hours of pay for their fifth offense, in addition to being held responsible for the cost of the ticket.

Stay tuned for updates our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source:

The Los Angeles Times, "Denver police were traffic-ticket scofflaws -- but not anymore," John M. Glionna, Oct. 4, 2012

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