Arkansas Judge Bans Town From Writing Speeding Tickets For 1 Year

An Arkansas judge has banned a small town in the state from issuing speeding tickets for one year. The reason is, as you might have guessed, the entire town is a speed trap. Thankfully, Arkansas has anti-speed trap laws, and the town of Menifee exceeded the issuance of speeding tickets by plenty. So have we just found our speeders Camelot?

Menifee is a quiet town of 274 residents. Two major thoroughfares run right through town. One is U.S. Highway 64, and the other is Interstate 40. Especially Interstate 40 runs right through the middle of the country, linking the west and east coasts. 

How many speeding tickets were the police issuing?

Speed traps
The sheriff sitting in a car at speed trap | Getty

Arkansas law says a town’s traffic citations can only amount to 30 percent of its total yearly revenue. But an audit revealed over 50 percent of its revenue was from speeding tickets. “Clearly, they were writing substantially more tickets than other communities that were similarly sized,” 15th District Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum told THV11.

In 2020, Menifee wrote $120,000 worth of speeding tickets, according to the audit. With the town’s revenue-dependent ticketing exposed, the Mayor is blaming Police Chief John Randall. But Randall says, “The only reason why I could see he’s got harsh words for me is because I’m enforcing the laws in Menifee.” 

There is a lot of finger pointing over the excessive tickets

Says Mayor Gary Green, “When I hired him, I said, ‘We can’t write tickets 10 miles and under.’ But yet, these guys were writing tickets 10 miles and under.” But Randall says that Green’s account doesn’t cover all of the facts. Green also mandated Randall to get outstanding fines before 2020 paid. 

According to City Alderman Derrick Hammond, Randall did a hell of a job doing that. Consequently, some of that 2020 revenue was from previous delinquent payments. “Chief Randall was given permission from the mayor and city council to go after past due and unpaid tickets, Hammond told THV11. “The tickets were written by officers who no longer work for the city.”

Did the police issue warnings as well as speeding tickets?

speed traps
A policeman uses a radar gun to trap speeding motorists | Getty

But when you look at the circumstances surrounding speeding citations from 2020, the police left very little leeway. Over four years the police never issued a warning to speeding motorists, according to records. Hammond went on to add, “We as a council failed to make sure that happened and now face police sanctions for a year.”  There was one especially aggressive officer that in that time issued almost 800 citations when the next highest amount was 263. 

While some towns and cities in the U.S. have tamped down on their use of speed traps, there are still some who fund municipal operations through speeding tickets. And there are probably more of them than we’ll ever know. But while you might be thinking about conducting your next standing mile high-speed event, you better think twice.

How will Arkansas stop speeders in Menifee now?

speed traps
A policeman with a radar gun | Getty

The Menifee police have been neutered. But prowling the highways in and around Menifee are state police. In fact, we expect that those efforts have ramped up now that the word is out about issuing tickets there. 

Even if the town you’re driving through doesn’t exist for speed traps, you know a potential speed trap easily enough. Coming into a small town, the speed limits will be significantly lower. That should be enough of a signal to match your car’s speed to the posted limit. 

You can increase your speed to the higher posted limit once out of town. And once you’re in the middle of nowhere, well, speeding is up to you. We absolutely don’t recommend it at all. Ever. But at least if you do, your chances of getting away with it are much better. 

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