St. Pete cops to start paying fines for on-duty red-light camera violations

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St. Petersburg Police officers will soon have to pay for red-light camera violations incurred on the job.

Mayor Rick Kriseman called for the change in city policy Tuesday, in a letter to interim police Chief David DeKay, reports Noah Pransky of WTSP/10 News.

“I believe on-duty employees should be held to a higher standard,” Kriseman wrote. “Once a determination has been made by the Chain of Command that no emergency exists … in addition to paying the requested civil fine due, the employee will also receive a Memorandum of Counseling and will be subject to progressive discipline.”

The City of St. Petersburg approach since 2012 was to exempt law enforcement officers from paying the $158 fine; in most cases, violators would receive a letter in their personnel files.

The city updated its guidelines in 2013, by forcing off-duty officers to start paying for red-light camera violations; on-duty officers continued to be exempt.

Since taking office, Kriseman expressed “concern” over the policy, according to 10 News.

St. Petersburg officers will now be subject to discipline and a $158 fine if caught on camera running a light.

In most Tampa Bay-area law enforcement agencies, officers are responsible for any red-light camera fines while on duty, including the Tampa Police Department, the Hillsborough County, Polk County, Sarasota County, and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Offices.

Port Richey Police Department exempts offices from fines. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office lets its officers off the hook if caught running a red light, but they could be subject to internal discipline.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.