Slowing down speeders: Area towns disclose speeding citation numbers
|By Jessica Miller, Enid News & Eagle, Okla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"Do you know how many vehicles travel up and down
Average police stop speeds were 63 mph in a 45 mph speed limit zone.
Asch said most of the speeding citations written by the police department are issued on
There were 198 warnings issued for speeding since January, Asch noted.
"People say we're a speed trap. We don't set the speed limit on the highway, the state does," Asch said.
Asch would not disclose how many officers work on a shift, due to concerns that someone may see the number of officers on shift working on the highway and take the opportunity to commit a crime in
Note: The fines for
With one officer working per shift in
Dispatcher and Court Clerk
If an officer is working on another case, they cannot be working traffic cases, she noted.
When it comes to issuing traffic citations, Weber said his policy is for officers to "react firm, fair and reasonable."
"All traffic stops or encounters are different," he said. "I believe the citizen has the right to discuss the issue with the officer, to explain the situation. I believe you would be surprised at the speeds officers typically write citations.
"The majority of citations for speeding would be written in excess of 10 miles over the posted speed limit."
"With the surge in domestic oil production, this has greatly increased traffic," Weber said. "It also seems the number of traffic collisions has dramatically increased (over) the (past) few years.
"Speed limits on the highways, even in town limits, are set by the
According to Weber, the police department receives a "great deal" of complaints about speeding on the highways as well as within the corporate town limits.
"We try to focus efforts to slow traffic down. The point of traffic enforcement is not to write books of citations, but rather to gain attention to driving and deterrence," he said. "Our warning-to-citations ratio is probably two to three warnings to every citation."
There usually is one officer on duty per eight-hour shift. During high traffic or special functions, there may be as many as three officers on duty per shift, according to Weber.
"Circumstances like domestic abuse or multiple arrest calls also would result in additional officers activated to provide requisite manning, based on the circumstances," he said.
In most of the months between January and
The only exception was May, when there were 43 citations issued.
"We had additional officers on the street that were working nothing but speeds," he said. "It paid for (their) overtime.
"It was a grant to curb speeding."
There typically are two officers working per shift. In May, there were as many as two additional officers per shift patrolling for just speeding violations throughout the community, according to Dunham.
Alva officers work traffic, robberies and other crimes, he said. They also serve as detectives, when needed.
Kingfisher officers wrote 84 speeding citations between January and June, with fines amounting to
The police force takes school district enforcement very seriously, Police Chief
"We write a lot of school zone tickets and we have three different school zones that we have to watch," he said. "A lot of that's going to be school zone violations as well, before school was released for the summer."
One of the larger school zones is located on
"We have a number of crosswalks through that school zone. We watch that pretty close, try to keep people slowed down," he said.
There are no policies for issuing speeding citations, Baker said.
"Our policies just talk about officer discretion and about how, sometimes, depending on the circumstances and the violation, how a warning may suffice," he said. "We write a ton of warnings."
During the January to June time period, the department wrote 268 speed-related warnings.
The department implemented courtesy stops seven or eight years ago. During a courtesy stop, drivers are informed of issues with tag lights, taillights, headlights or other equipment.
"We did some studying and looked at numbers, a year to two years ... after we implemented that, because we expected some things to happen. We found that (what) we hoped would happen actually did," he said.
The number of arrests for larger violations -- no driver's license, no insurance, wanted individuals, drug offenses -- went up, and in some cases doubled. It also was found that accident reports had been cut in half and some minor violations, like vandalism, were down as well.
"I think, just the increase of presence, and people seeing that, had some effect," Baker said. "So we do make quite a few stops."
Officers have discretion when writing tickets and each stop is different, according to Baker.
"The violation itself, you take that in consideration, the person's attitude and demeanor, their traffic record. There's a lot of things that go in the consideration before a decision is made to either write or not write a citation," he said.
Typically, there are two officers working per shift, but sometimes a third will be on shift, Baker said.
"We're real small out here,"
"We do sit out on the highway and watch for traffic violations, that's what we do. But whether it's a seatbelt or improper driving or speeding, DUIs, things like that, it's a total emphasis. It's not just any one thing."
Cross said the majority of speeding citations are issued on
"A lot of that is because, like I said, we're so small," he said.
Cross said non-highway citations usually are drivers running stop signs or seatbelt violations.
"Occasionally we'll have something in a school zone," he said.
There were 61 speeding citations written between January and June in
Due to the difficult process of separating speeding citation revenue from all citation revenues, town officials provided the amount of revenue for all citations --
There are four full-time officers employed in
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