It’s often said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but what about the road to heaven in this story? It’s apparently paved with speeding tickets. The police department of a small Arkansas town has been banned from writing speeding tickets for an entire year after smashing through the state’s percentage limit on municipal revenue raised from traffic citations.
As reported by KTHV, state attorneys found the Menifee Police Department after an audit. Over half of the city’s revenue came from traffic citations. Arkansas state law stipulates that cities and towns can’t raise more than 30 percent of their revenue from traffic citations. A 2020 audit found that over $120,000 was collected from traffic violations, a high amount of income for a town of Menifee’s size.
How small is Menifee? The 2020 Census states that the town 40 miles northwest of Little Rock has a population of 274 people. However, there are two significant roadways that pass through Menifee, U.S. Route 64 and Interstate 40.
Local officials are pointing fingers at each other on who’s to blame for the ban. Mayor Gary Green said, “When I hired [the police chief], I said, ‘We can’t write tickets 10 miles and under. But yet these guys was writing tickets 10 miles and under.” Police Chief John Randall later commented that he was simply enforcing local laws. Randall added that the courts and those cited were to blame for the inordinate amount of revenue in 2020. Randall said, “When they went to court, the judge set them up on a payment plan. They didn’t pay their fine off until 2020, where it looks like we brought in a large amount of money just for that year.”
KTHV discovered through a record of tickets from 2018 through to last week that a single officer issued 771 citations. The next highest officer on this list wrote 263 citations. Also, not a single recorded warning was given to a driver over this same time period.
A local alderman somewhat gave context to the situation and laid the blame on everyone involved, including himself. He said, “Chief Randall was given permission from the mayor and city council to go after past due and unpaid tickets. The tickets were written by officers who no longer work for the city. We as a council failed to make sure that happened and now face police sanctions for a year.”
While the Menifee Police Department might not be able to write tickets for the next year, other law enforcement agencies, like the Arkansas State Police, can issue citations for infractions in Menifee.