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All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
Arkansas State Police Troop K Troopers and Rockport Police participated in the speed enforcement operation last weekend entitled “Obey The Sign Or Pay The Fine”. The operation was focused strongly on speed violations and ran between 7/21 – 7/23, 2017.
I interviewed ASP Captain Ron Casey, Commander of Troop K, over the phone following the close of the operation and he was glad to report the following:
- between 7-11 troopers were working this assignment at any given time of the enforcement action plus between 3-5 Rockport PD Officers.
- 155 warnings were issued for various safety and equipment violations.
- 622 arrests (and or tickets) were made/issued including approximately 50 criminal arrests
- 1 of the traffic stops during this operation resulted in a vehicle pursuit that ended at the 112 mile marker on Interstate 30. At least 1 arrest was made in that case. The charges included firearms violations and active felony warrants that had been issued previously.
- troopers were able to assist with at least 1 injury traffic incident where a piece of metal flew up from the interstate and crashed through the windshield of a vehicle, striking a lady seated in the front of the vehicle. The lady was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
I went over to Rockport and found the team of officers after their lunch break at the Rockport Police Department on Friday. I witnessed some Heroes working very hard in the extreme heat. However, 1 group of Rockport Officers lucked out. They got to camp out in the median, under the shade of the Tanner Street Overpass with lawn chairs, bottled water and the LIDAR (laser speed detection instrument) gun. Rockport Police Assistant Chief Shane Davis led the crew of patrolmen that were actually getting the speeds on all of these alleged violators. By the time a violator was able to see the LIDAR guys, it was way too late to slow down and avoid being pulled over.
As violators passed the plain clothes officers, the officer with the LIDAR gun would tell Asst. Chief Davis the speed and description of car. Asst. Chief Davis would immediately take that info wright it in the logbook and put it over the radio. The patrol cars involved in the operation were lined up on the entrance ramp next to the overpass where the LIDAR was. As soon as the description of the violator vehicle went out over the radio, the next trooper or RPD Officer were already accelerating from the ramp and targeting the vehicle description that was just radioed out by the AChief.
As officers took off and made the traffic stops, they would all finish their stops after a few minutes, report back to the ramp and line up in the same fashion. There were enough police cars doing this that in the 4 hours I was there, I never caught the ramp empty. There was always a car ready to take off. It reminded me of “touch & go’s” on the aircraft carrier from back in my navy days.
It was fun to watch the Heroes work, but not if you were on the business end of that LIDAR gun!
Original Press Release Just Prior To Operation “Obey The Sign Or Pay The Fine” – ARKANSAS STATE POLICE HIGHWAY SAFETY OFFICE (Ann Whitehead)
(LITTLE ROCK) – Law enforcement authorities in Arkansas and in five other states will concentrate their patrol assignments on speeding violations during the coming weekend (July 21 – July 23, 2017).
“Obey the sign or pay the fine,” is a multijurisdictional enforcement operation plan designed to crack down on speeding offenses and make highway travel safer across Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“Speeding translates into death on our roadways. It greatly reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around another vehicle, a hazardous object in the roadway, or an unexpected curve,” said Susan DeCourcy, Regional Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Region 7. “Speeding drivers put themselves, their passengers and other drivers at tremendous risk. All drivers need to be on alert; the posted speed limit is the law. When it comes to speeding, there are no excuses, ‘Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine.’”
According to the latest data from NHTSA, speeding was a contributing factor in 27 percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. during 2015. More than 9,500 lives were lost in these speed related crashes. In Arkansas during the same reporting period, there were 531 total traffic fatalities, of which 90 (17%) were speed related.
Federal highway safety experts consider a motor vehicle crash to be speed related if the driver is charged with exceeding the posted speed limit or if the driver was driving too fast for conditions at the time.
The risk of a crash on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph or greater is more than twice as likely to result in a fatality as on a road with a 45 or 50 mph speed limit. However, the danger of speeding is not limited to highways. Seventeen percent of speed related traffic fatalities during 2015 occurred on local roads where the posted speed limits were 55 miles per hour or less.
“During the ‘Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine’ operation, state troopers will intensify their speed enforcement patrols,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Arkansas State Police Director and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We’ll stop and ticket anyone caught speeding.”
For more information about “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine,” please visit http://trafficsafetymarketing.gov/.