Lafayette

Apr 19, 2012 11:07 PM by Shawn Kline

Redflex relationship jeopardizes officers' testimony

Some Lafayette Councilmembers are questioning the credibility of those supporting Redflex. Last week, Lafayette Police Officer Richard Rees testified in favor of the speed cams at the state capitol but was his presentation credible?

The Advertiser reports Rees is dating a Redflex employee and opponents of the program say that relationship puts Rees' testimony in jeopardy. Officer Rees is considered the star witness for those supporting these speed cams. He was once against putting Redflex in place until he says he did his own research but is that what's influencing his report?

"Redflex has aided in the identification and arrest of a serial rapist, a carjacker, vehicle thefts and several hit and run crashes," Rees reported to City-Parish Council last month.

That was before The Advertiser discovered Rees is also dating a Redflex employee, raising some eyebrows in City-Parish Council like those of Councilman Andy Naquin.

"This does definitely bring some questions to light as to what's going on right now with the Redflex cameras." Naquin says, "and the motivation behind this drive to keep the cameras here."

Officer Rees repeated the same information to the House Transportation Committee last week, studying the statewide use of speed cams. Representative Terry Landry sits on that committee.

Landry said Rees' presentation did not influence his opinion but stated:

"If I was the (Lafayette Police) Chief, I would have a concern sending Rees to represent the Redflex issue."

"It really is not a big issue," Parish President Joey Durel said.

Durel and the Lafayette Police Department stand behind Officer Rees. Durel says Rees' relationship does not violate ethics policies and police are sticking to the data, that just happened to be presented by Officer Rees.

Representative Bernard LeBas of the House Transportation Commission says Rees' relationship with Redflex won't affect his decision and he saw the data as strictly informational.

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