COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Village of Brice was audited by the State Auditor and investigated by the local Association of Police Chiefs for incomplete speeding ticket records and the way those tickets were issued.
NBC4 spoke with all parties and has the details.
The three-person police force in Brice is checking speeds with laser technology, paired with an internet-ready camera.
“We can aim the device at the rear of the vehicle and after three beeps it locks in the speed,” said Captain Steve Price. Price said that information is transferred to a laptop and then to a third party which issues a violation.
Most other law enforcement agencies issue a criminal citation, where an officer stops your vehicle and hands you a speeding ticket. Brice Police issue a civil violation which is mailed to the registered vehicle owner. In other words, you do not know you were ticketed until days later.
“The association is trying to say the legal use of a camera program that is authorized by state law is unprofessional, but the way the law is written we are just abiding by the law,” said Brice Police Chief Bud Bauchmoyer.
The Franklin County Chiefs Association disagrees with their methods of speed enforcement.
“Today we did take a vote that we’ll suspend participation of Brice Police Department in the association, pending the outcome of the announcement on the investigation,” said Association President-Elect Hilliard Chief Robert Fisher.
NBC4 asked Chief Bauchmoyer about reports of a high number of speeding tickets being issued on a 25 mph zone through a village of a little more than 100 people.
“I can say in the last two years I’ve captured about 6,000 images,” Bauchmoyer said.
Because it is a civil violation he said many of those tickets are never paid.
Another member of the association did not mince words about Brice’s policing.
“They are not being held accountable. None of my deputies that work in that area or other law enforcement agency know they are being stopped in Brice and that money is going to Brice or a third party,” Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said.
State Auditor David Yost cited incomplete speeding ticket records, and an improper sale of a borrowed handgun.
The audit said:
Camera speed enforcement fines are reported at $171,611 for the year ended December 31, 2016, which is 73 percent of General Fund and 55 percent of governmental activities receipts for the year ended December 31, 2016. We were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence supporting the amounts recorded as camera speed enforcement fines.
No one at the village was available to respond to the State Audit, but NBC4 did ask Chief Bauchmoyer about the contention nearly 80 percent of the village’s budget comes from speeding fines.
“If they want to cut our funding they just need to slow down,” Bauchmoyer said.