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          Front Page




City Has Red-Light Cameras in Minnesota, Too?

By Dan McKay
Journal Staff Writer
    Omar Vigil laughed when he got his red-light-camera notice in the mail.
    It listed the violation as having happened in "Albuquerque, MN." Vigil got the citation dismissed by arguing the city had no jurisdiction over Minnesota.
    "I stared at it and thought, 'I got this one beat,' '' said Vigil, who runs a construction-staffing company.
    It's unclear whether any other tickets have the same glitch. City Attorney Bob White said he hasn't heard of any similar complaints.
    "I suspect it's fairly limited," he said.
    Vigil said he spotted the problem as soon as he opened his violation notice. It accused him of running a red light at "San Mateo and Montgomery, Albuquerque, MN."
    That's a common abbreviation, of course, for Minnesota.
    His citation was dismissed immediately at a hearing, but Vigil said other people should get refunds if they paid citations under the faulty jurisdiction.
    "It's at least reasonable suspicion that the system is faulty," Vigil said Wednesday in an interview.
    Police have acknowledged other mistakes caused by "human error" in the camera program. Another man had a citation dismissed last year, for example, after pointing out that it was the car next to him speeding, not him.
    The city has cameras stationed at roughly 20 intersections to photograph vehicles that run red lights or exceed the speed limit. A task force appointed by the mayor is reviewing the program.