January 12, 2006

Police Department To Target Traffic Offenders

After hearing numerous complaints voiced at the January meeting of the Memphis City Council, the Memphis Police Department indicated plans were underway to step-up traffic enforcement within the city limits.

Alderman William Reckenberg asked the council to consider installing a stop sign at the intersection of McPherson and Lincoln streets to help control vehicle speed on the route.

Street Superintendent Roy Monroe sighted public studies that indicated that stop signs are not an effective tool in slowing down traffic. “As a matter of fact, that’s one of the poorest things we can do for speeding,” he stated.

Council members highlighted a number of streets in town where citizens have made complaints regarding speeding traffic with most fingers pointing toward increased law enforcement presence.

The discussion then turned to the idea of saturating the trouble areas with law enforcement.

Marshal Steve Snodgrass and officer Mike Steeples indicated that officers are regularly patrolling areas with speed problems, but noted that the offenders are too observant and can spot the patrol cars. The officers also noted that cell phones are often used to notify other motorists where the officers are located.

Attorney David Peppard suggested that the department set up enforcement efforts utilizing more than one officer at a time, or even using an unmarked vehicle.

Marshal Snodgrass questioned if the city would approve overtime to allow such programs.

Council members indicated the process could be accomplished by simply overlapping shifts a few hours during the designated enforcement times to allow officers to combine their efforts.

“It doesn’t sound like this should require a lot of overtime, but I don’t think anyone would complain if we had to pay for a few extra hours if we could see the results,” stated Reckenberg.

“A few speeding tickets and a few fines at the courthouse will get the point across to slow down,” said Alderman Teresa Skinner.

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