The city of Damascus
has formally disputed the finding by Prosecutor Cody Hiland that speeding tickets issued by local police are sufficient
to meet the state's legal definition of a speed trap, which can bring limitations on city enforcement.
The filing, by City Attorney Beau Wilcox,
contends, among others, that the study of tickets and fines had mischaracterized some city revenue as a product of speed enforcement for purposes of determining whether the city violated the 30 percent cap on revenue from traffic enforcement. Some of the money didn't come from speeding tickets, but from other violations. The city argues, too, that the statute is vague and hard to interpret.
The enforcement is on Highway 65, which runs 1.6 miles through the city. The speed limit on the heavily travel routed drops to 45 mph.
The city asked Hiland to revisit his finding. It notes that the law provides no judicial recourse for the city.
Hiland didn't recommend a penalty in his finding. He could order a reduction in enforcement or contribution of city revenue to a county fund.
Here's the Damascus filing.
Many city residents support the enforcement as a safety measure.
In my seven years serving as city attorney for Damascus, I cannot recall one serious injury accident or fatality on Highway 65 through town. For as much as many lament the alleged speed trap, there are numerous others—mostly residents of the community, but also many who traverse through the town regularly—who have voiced to me personally their support of the police department for keeping that stretch of road safe. Highway 65 in Faulkner County is notorious for major accidents, particularly in unincorporated areas outside of Conway, where fatalities have occurred including a major one 20 years ago this month that claimed the lives of three Conway students, two of whom were sisters.