Friday, August 21, 2009


On a recent trip from Harriman to Memphis, I noticed all along the way that city police either had vehicles stopped along I-40 or were just sitting, sometimes in groups up to 4 cars, in the median watching the traffic go by. My question is why?!

Why should local law enforcement, city police units, be patrolling the Interstate? Is this a new revenue source for the small towns?

It was a city police officer that pulled my friend Jeff over this last trip. He was following me, and did, because the cop was riding his bumper, move over out of the way, probably cutting in front of a semi just a little too close. However, it appeared to Jeff that the police vehicle wanted by quickly!

It seems to me that local police should only be patrolling and protecting the citizens that pay for their services. The Highway Patrol organizations are paid to patrol the state and national highways! Aren't they?

I know that the Interstate system is used to distribute illegal aliens and drugs, but our local police forces aren't paid to do the policing. Are they?

What do you think?


FHB said...

Straight up, I think it's money. More and more the cops around here seem to be chiefly involved in "revenue enhancement". Most of the crimes, like 80%, go unsolved because the primary job of cops seems to be giving tickets. After all, they need all that new SWAT gear and kevlar, right?

The price for having your radio up too loud in your car is $500! They've got automatic cameras at a few lights now that are always flashing, giving tickets to folks who try to speed through yellow lights, or who don't wait long enough at a red to make a right turn. And most of the money goes to the folks who monitor the system, rather than the city. So who's makin' money?

Bill Farnham said...

1) First premise incorrect. Court costs eat up most of traffic fines. Find documentation of how much a municipality's or county's coffers are filled up by traffic fines. You may find it somewhere, but not in Roane County.
2)FBI statistics as well as information published by such folks as the police departments themselves show this statement, while it may be popular, is simply not true. Anybody that thinks the majority of what cops in any city in Roane County do is traffic stops has no contact with reality. Ask, for instance, Randy Heidle about crim solving rates in the city. From what was posted here, it should be a surprise.
3) Traffic fines don't and can't even BEGIN to provide a department with their needs for kevlar or other such equipment. They don't make even a significant dent in that kind of budget. I'd like to see documentation of use of traffic court fines being used for such capital expenses.
4) The cops don't set fines. Period. The courts in combination with the associated legislative bodies set fines and costs, but only in accordance with state law. You don't like the amount of a fine? Talk to the legislators and judges. It has nothing to do with the cops.
5) The cops don't put up traffic cameras. Municipalities like Oak Rodge and Knoxville decide to do that through their City Councils, etc. Again, nothing to do with the cops.
6) It ain't the cops makin the money, if any significant money is made.

All of which has ZIP to do with whether or not locals should be allowed on the interstate.

Mushy said...

True, but you made a hell of an argument...fer sumpin'!

You should'da been a lawyer Bill! Even if you'd been wrong, the jury would see your way anyhow!

BRUNO said...

Well, once again---"Statutes vary widely from one state to another."

And, at least in Missouri---depending upon individual city's appropriations ordinances---any and all traffic fines are diverted to "special-funds", which go directly towards radar-certification training, and other "miscellaneous" costs of the P.D. In SOME city departments, now---not ALL!

Of course, in Illinois, the only rule is---there are NO rules---they change hourly, it seems, as conditions dictate! It's my understanding that SOME State Police, and/or the larger Metro Locals, even have remote-wireless MasterCard/Visa/AmEx terminals in their cruisers, so the "burden" on the courts can therefore be eliminated!

Kind of a "pay-as-you-go" program, if you will! And, I also understand that CASH is an option, too!(Hint, "wink"!, nudge, "snigger"---you know...!)

Ranger Tom said...

My old Department, the Philadelphia PD, has been patrolling the sections of I-95 and I-76 that are within the city limits for as long as I can remember. They even have a special Squad, the Highway Patrol, to do it.

Anonymous said...

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FHB said...

Bottom line... Something like 80% of crimes go unsolved, and what do most of us see cops doing, MOST of the time? Giving tickets. And when my city (Killeen, TX) allocates $20,000 for the enforcement of noise ordinances, and a ticket for having a loud car stereo is $500 to $1500 (whether it's your first offence or not), it's easy to come to the conclusion that the cops are just out there to raise money.

*Goddess* said...

In my little corner of the world, it's the other way around. We have state troopers patrolling small towns because they can't afford PD's anymore.

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