Special Report: Law, Priorities and Order - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Law, Priorities and Order

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Your chances of getting a speeding ticket may actually be lower in the coming year, because of state budget cutbacks and changing law enforcement traffic strategy. 

Troopers and officers will be on the road fewer hours because of furloughs, so they are changing tactics to slow down speeders.

A Dougherty County Police officer pulls over another speeder, and issues another speeding ticket.

"This is your citation for going 73 in a 55 mile per hour zone.  Your court date will be June 25th of this year.  Sign your name please," said Dougherty County Police Corporal Robert Richard.

In some states the number of speeding tickets is skyrocketing. Critics say it's because they need the fine money. Peach state law enforcers say not here.

"It does not benefit us, because we don't see the first red cent from these violations," said Georgia State Patrol Sgt. Scott Woodell.

Georgia State Patrol troopers wrote almost 26,000 fewer speeding tickets last year than two years before. That trend will continue, with fewer troopers on the road because of budget cutting furloughs.  So the GSP is changing strategy.  Fewer radar stakeouts, more patrols for dangerous drivers.

"We've decided we're going to target what is really hurting our highways. The drug traffickers, the DUI's." Woodell said.

The number of traffic citations Dougherty County Police have written has fallen every year since 2006.  The amount of those traffic fines have also dropped each of those years, and the Chief says he expects even fewer to be written this year.

"We write almost as many written warnings as we do written citations.  And that doesn't include a significant number of verbal warnings," said Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheek.

Cheek's officers could be facing a dozen furlough days in the next year,  so they are planning to do more verbal warnings to keep the officers on the move. "As visible as we can be.  We feel that we'll slow people down, make them aware of what's going on around them, and hopefully make it safer for all of us," he said.

They plan to write fewer speeding tickets, but not stop completely.

"He's going 70 miles per hour.  We're going to stop him," Woodell said.

"Please monitor your speed a little better and slow down a little bit for me. Be careful. Have a good day," the officer said to the driver.

Your chance of getting a speeding ticket will be less.  But they say there is one really easy way to make sure you don't get one.

"Stay under the speed limit," Chief Cheek said.

Even if fewer speeding tickets are written, law enforcement says they will continue work to slow down dangerous drivers and save lives. 

Georgia law enforcement will use more joint agency road block operations to target dangerous drivers, and mass media messages to convince drivers to slow down.

  • Georgia State Patrol speeding tickets
YEAR    TICKETS
2007     194, 455 
2008    150, 722
2009    168, 702
     
  • Dougherty County Police traffic citations revenue from traffic citations
 YEAR  TICKETS  REVENUE  
2006 10,058 $920, 794  
2007 9,865  $817,522  
2008 8,516 $780, 390  
2009 8,050 $755,288  

 

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