Sheriff's radar bill may be closer to becoming law - - Jackson, MS

Sheriff's radar bill may be closer to becoming law

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

After several years of trying, a bill allowing county sheriff's departments to operate radar speed detection has made it's way out of committee.

House Bill 483 would allow only counties with a population of more than 95,000 to use radar.

"That would include, of course, Rankin County, Madison County and Hinds County. It would allow them to run radar on all county roads. It will restrict them from interstates," said Rep. (R)Mark Baker.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey says studies show his county is one of the worst in the state and the law, if passed, would be beneficial.

"Rankin County has the 8th most injuries per 100 miles of road out of the 82 counties in the state and the 13th deadliest roads per 100 miles in the state. So it's obvious that we need something to help slow these vehicles down," said Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey.

Representative Baker says the bill contains language requiring traffic studies to prevent county officials from setting up so-called speed traps.

"There are natural speeds on some roads and they want to make sure the speed limits are not set too low and so we don't have this false problem set up where there are too many tickets written in a particular area," added Rep. Baker.

Sheriff Bailey says some people ask why not just write tickets for wreckless or careless driving instead of speeding.

"There's case law that says speeding alone does not constitute reckless driving or careless driving. So that knocks that out of the window for us," added Sheriff Bailey.

Another criticism of the measure is county officials will use the law to bolster their budgets.

"Funding is not really the issue. It's not an issue in Rankin county and it's not an issue in this bill," added Rep. Baker.

Warren: "It's a public safety issue".

"Absolutely, 100% public safety," replied Rep. Baker.

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