Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland
has announced completion of a State Police analysis of Damascus police speed limit enforcement
and concluded that statistics indicate tickets are written in excess of limits in law that define speed traps.
The police in Damascus write about 1,500 tickets a year patrolling U.S. Highway 65.
The city has insisted it's a safety necessity.
Hiland reported that revenue from tickets in 2014 and 2015 — $388,000 and $450,000 respectively — exceeded by 30 percent city expenditures the previous year. For example, revenue was $108,710 more than 30 percent of city operating expenditures of $1.138 million in 2013
Hiland concluded that the city had "abused its police power through the enforcement of criminal and traffic laws for the principal purpose of raising revenue for the municipality and not for the purpose of public safety and is subject to the sanctions provided by law."
The city has 30 days to respond. If the response doesn't change Hiland's conclusion, "sanctions will be administered."
The potential sanctions:
* Ordering a halt to police patrols on affected highways.
* Order all or parts of future fines be directed to a county maintenance fund or public schools.
* Charge officers with misdemeanors for traffic tickets or arrests made in violation of the order.
Here are the full findings by Hiland.
I'm seeking a comment from Damascus.