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Probe continues of Lynnwood police in traffic camera case

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD -- City leaders must wait a little while longer to review the findings of a lawyer's investigation into the Lynnwood Police Department.
Attorney Patricia Eakes is investigating whether two police officers created conflicts of interest in their dealings with the city's traffic-enforcement camera vendor, American Traffic Solutions. The investigation is expected to cost up to $15,000.
The city has put off renewing the traffic-camera contract until the investigation is concluded.
The multimillion-dollar contract was set to expire this month, but City Council members in October approved a three-month extension.
A few weeks back, Eakes told Lynnwood officials she expected to wrap up by Oct. 31.
The remaining work now is expected to take at least until the end of this week, if not longer, assistant city administrator Art Ceniza said.
Eakes has other projects going, and there's no set timetable.
A deputy police chief and a sergeant both wrote the camera company emails earlier this year that suggested a blurring between the company's business and the police department's oversight role. The police chief said he didn't think any lines had been crossed, but he also called for an investigation. The mayor opted to hire the lawyer.
Lynnwood officials can't comment on the investigation until it is complete, said Paula Itaoka, human resources director.
Workplace investigations are a common business practice that take place at every organization, she said.
She stressed that, in general, just because an investigation exists, that does not indicate wrongdoing.
"We just don't know until they're concluded," she said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » LynnwoodPoliceTraffic Safety

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