HOUSTON --Houston police gave out more than 165,000 speeding tickets last year, but is this really about traffic safety or money? A 13 Undercover investigation is helping make the streets safer by telling you where the speeding hot spots are. This is stuff you'll want to know as you head off to work tomorrow morning because it can save you time and money. They're armed with a laser gun at their favorite spot in the city to write speeding tickets. "Those guys are writing tickets at locations because people are flagrant speeding through," Houston Police Department Capt. Carl Driskell said.
Business is good -- very good.More than 1,600 speeding tickets were issued in one hot spot in just seven months, but what's so special about the 2200 block of Durham? "Good question," Driskell said. If you drive over the hill, they're usually waiting. "It sure looks like we're playing a game of gotcha," 13 Undercover told Driskell. "It could," he replied. "If you're writing tickets at this location, and we don't have any complaints from citizens and you don't have any accidents out here, then what is your logic?" Harris County Pct. 6 Constable Victor Trevino asked. The 700 block of North Sheperd was the biggest ticket spot last year, and it's still one of HPD's favorite spots. But why? "There isn't an accident for a year and a half," we told Driskell. "That's true, and you would think there would be," he replied. We know what you're thinking. Is this really about traffic safety -- or about money? "I don't think anybody in law enforcement or any public official is actually going to admit that, but it's what it would look like to the common-sense person," Trevino said. Last year, you paid $20 million in fines just for speeding tickets given out by HPD. And if you got pulled over by Officer Matt Davis, you've got plenty of company. He's the city's ticket champion -- about 10,000 tickets a month. He's the only member of the One Million Dollar Club. That's how much money he made for the city last year writing tickets. His overtime pay is $60,000. And yes, he's certified.
Houston police showed us places they have to test their lasers for accuracy but they're not required to do it there. So if you go to court and ask for records of where they do it and when, you won't find one."I don't think it's necessary," Driskell said. "You got to trust the officers. We give them training." "It should be recorded," Speed Measurement Laboratories President Carl Fors said. And our radar expert, Fors, says the courts have spoken. "The court said in plain black and white you gotta have records of it, it must be tested it before and after each shift, and you have to have written records of it," Fors said. The Harris County Sheriff's Office wrote nearly 18,000 speeding tickets last year and chose to simply ignore its own written policy, which states that each deputy using radar shall complete a record showing the device used, accuracy checks and the results of said checks. Turns out Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia didn't think it was needed any more after his office consulted with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. "Based on input that we've received from the district attorney's office, no one is asking us for the logs and so it's not a state requirement and essentially, the devices are essentially self-tested," Garcia said. "I never said that, and I know of no one who would have said that," Harris County Assistant District Attorney Jim Leitner said. "Keeping the records is better for everybody." Gotcha! Get the top 20 surface street locations for tickets issued in Houston in 2009 and 2010