David Cephas, former MPD officer, pleads guilty in photo radar fraud case

Photo: Samuel Corum

A 22-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department has pleaded guilty to falsifying logs that tracked photo radar fines in the District of Columbia.

Prosecutors say that between 2008 and 2009, David Cephas, a former officer with the agency, falsified deployment logs that certified deployment times for equipment used as a part of MPD's speed camera program.

Officers on photo-radar duty are paid overtime to monitor the equipment, which they must test fire hourly to make sure it’s calibrated properly.

Failure to do that means a 90 day suspension.

To fake his hourly shot, court papers say one day, at 3:10 a.m., the defendant took the mobile radar unit and physically rolled the clock back to 2:01 a.m. before firing a test shot.

Within a minute of taking this test shot, the defendant then rolled the clock forward to 3:01 a.m. and took a second test shot.

Because of his fraud, officials say that more than $17,000 worth of traffic fines had to be refunded to the recipients of 200 radar tickets. As part of his guilty plea to three misdemeanor second-degree fraud charges, Cephas must pay back $17,550 in restitution to the District.

Cephas was also forced to resign from the force. He did so this past June.

"I think what happened, basically served him right. It's bad enough we're getting these tickets and then you got people out here falsifying (information)," says D.C. resident Rickey Pemble.