Give deputies radar, raise some speed limits

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This Saturday we reported Sheriff David Allison and the statewide sheriff’s association will try, once again, to get the legislature to allow sheriff’s departments to use radar.
We support their efforts.
Our county is has lost far too many lives to reckless, dangerous driving and speed limit enforcement is a good way to curtail some accidents. Perhaps not all accidents are related to speed, but once drivers become accustomed to watching their speed for fear of traffic tickets, they will also be more in control of their vehicle. In short, attention to speed correlates with attention to overall driving.
Sheriff Allison is right to remind citizens wary of speed traps that he occupies an elected office. If speed traps become excessive or if people feel deputies are misusing the technology, Allison—and all current and future sheriffs in the state—will be held accountable through the ballot box.
Besides, the use of radar does not guarantee speeding tickets. Deputies may let some motorists go with a warning, if they so choose. Radar is a tool, not a weapon—and it’s a tool that can increase public safety. Our deputies use a variety of tools in their course of work and the idea that they would misuse one of those tools but not the others strikes us as misguided. We must trust our law enforcement, unless we have clear evidence of wrongdoing.
However, we also agree with those who argue that speed limits are sometimes too low in the county.
Whether or not the legislature allows sheriff’s departments to use radar, we suggest that our county board of supervisors pay for a traffic engineer to review the posted speeds and raise them if it can be done safely.
We urge readers to call their elected state representatives and let them know our county supports safer roadways.
We also urge our readers to request our county board members to consider raising speed limits where they can.

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