I’m curious as to others’ opinions on this topic.
A section of interstate highway on my daily commute passes through a small village in the middle of the metro area. Population of this village is 745. Total area of the village is 192 acres. The village has 3 full time police officers and no fire department (dissolved in 2008, since contracted w/ neighboring city). The village is the only municipality in the area that has regularly enforced the speed limit on the interstate, and they’ve been getting a good amount of their revenues from speeding tickets, though the paper has pointed out that the costs of the mayor’s court and the officers just offset the revenues.
People have complained about the village’s police enforcement for years, and that has only become louder with news that two employees embezzled $260k from the city’s court. The county prosecutor is openly calling for the village to dissolve, stating that it is “nothing more than a speed trap”. So do you consider this to be unreasonable behavior, and why/why not?
A few facts:
- The village writes speeding tickets at a rate of about 21 times the state average on a per resident basis
- The interstate carries about 135,000 vehicles per day through the village according to the department of transportation
- The county prosecutor claims 80% of village revenues are from speeding tickets
- The state auditor (same party) shows 25% of village revenues are from speeding tickets
- The speed limit is 55 on this section of highway
- The speed limit is 55 for about 3 miles north of the village and 25 miles south of the village too.
- The highway is elevated on the NB lanes (bridgework) and below street level on SB.
- The NB lanes, though recently rebuilt, drain poorly, leaving standing water on the roadway
- Several vehicles have lost control and gone off the NB lanes, landing in yards below and even on buildings in recent years
- Sightlines are limited on the highway in much of the village to 500-1000 feet.
- One person was killed not long ago in an accident caused after police made a traffic stop where the person stopped in the far left lane instead of moving to the shoulder - before he could get them to move, someone rearended the police car at high speed, then minutes later more cars piled up resulting in a fatality.
- Since the embezzlement, the village stopped enforcement and I’ve seen MUCH more reckless driving through the area.
So what do you all think? Legitimate enforcement of a speed limit that is identical to surrounding areas on a potentially dangerous stretch of road, or simply a money-hungry village that serves no purpose other than to run a speed trap?