Police in the tiny town of Menifee, Arkansas, aren’t allowed to issue any speeding citations after auditors discovered that they were writing so many that they violated state law.
The Menifee Police Department (MPD) has been banned from issuing speeding tickets for a year after state attorneys performed an audit and discovered that about half of the city’s revenue was coming from speeding citations, according to a report from KTHV.
The Arkansas “Speed Trap” law forbids any town from generating more than 30% of its revenue from traffic citations.
The auditors discovered in a 2020 audit that police had collected $120,000 in speeding fines, a high number for a town of only about 300 residents. KTHV said that a single MPD officer wrote 771 speeding tickets from 2018 to the present day, with the next highest officer issuing 263 in that same time period. The report also showed that no traffic warnings were ever issued by MPD from 2018 until now.
Police Chief John Randall suggested that the audit inaccurately portrayed how many speeding tickets were being issued. “When they went to court, the judge set them up on a payment plan. They didn’t pay their fine off until 2020, where it looks like we brought in a large amount of money just for that year,” he explained.
Menifee Mayor Gary Green said that he told Randall not to write tickets for violations of 10 m.p.h. or less but that Randall did it anyway. According to the report, Green said of Randall, “Because to me, he’s incompetent.”
While MPD cannot issue speeding tickets for now, Arkansas State Police and other law enforcement agencies can still ticket drivers.
In 2017, police in the town of Damascus, Arkansas, were similarly found to be in violation of the state’s speed trap laws and ordered to cease patrolling the city’s highways. The town was allowed to begin issuing traffic tickets again in January 2019.
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