Our View Time to put an end to ridiculous speed traps

Our View

Time to put an end to ridiculous speed traps

All we can say is that it is about time someone with enough intestinal fortitude and authority to clamp down on struggling incorporated areas of this state using speed traps as a way to generate revenue.

Remember our commenting on this bold and aggressive prosecutor who went after a small town of only 385 residents that he claimed violated the state’s speed-trap law? Well, well, Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland has since ordered that this town’s mediocre police force quit sending its “Barney Fife” cops out to deliberately ticket motorists along all highways covered by his decision, including U.S. 65.

Most of us are all aware of our own “Mayberry” towns, such as Sunset, Jericho, Earle in Crittenden County and particularly Parkin in neighboring Cross County where it is no secret unsuspecting motorists are targeted and pulled over where they are issued a “speeding” citation.

We had hoped that Prosecutor Hiland’s commendable actions would have gained the attention of our own prosecutors who are very familiar with this clear form of highway robbery going on in our very own backyard.

Nevertheless, Hiland’s recent order supported his Feb. 22 findings that this poor excuse for an incorporated town of less than 400 inhabitants was in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated 12-8-402 through 404, despite arguments by the town’s attorney, Beau Wilcox that the law has “multiple, severe Constitutional deficiencies.” Now, that argument is debatable.

Let’s recall that a memorandum of understanding was reached for one year between the Arkansas State Police and the Faulkner County and Van Buren County sheriff’s offices to alternate responsibility for patrolling the Demascus area. You see, Damascus is in both counties.

With characteristics similar to those here, Damascus has a stretch of U.S. 65 which is about 20 miles north of Conway. U.S. 65 is also a major route for travel between Conway and Branson, Clinton or the popular Greers Ferry Lake.

Here we have U.S. Highway 64 that runs from Crittenden County to Bald Knob and passes through Earle, (population of just over (2,000), and Parkin, (population just over 1,000), both small towns that are known to have their keystone cops heavily patrol for the sole purpose of handing out citations.

Highway 64 is heavily traveled by people, especially from Memphis, going to Heber Springs and other popular areas such as Mountain Home which makes for good revenue for these towns. Let’s not be so naive to think everyone traveling through these tiny hamlets are obeying the speed limit and don’t deserve being ticketed for breaking the law but more times than not these town cops deliberately prowl U.S. Highway 64 for no other reason than to ticket as many outsiders as possible.

We have said it before and we’ll say it again, this type of harassment should not be tolerated, and for far too long people in positions such as this prosecutor in Conway have turned a blind eye to this type of shenanigan.

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